Regime blows up East Ghouta lifeline

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Regime forces blew up a rebel tunnel used to smuggle food and supplies into encircled East Ghouta after “digging underground to reach the tunnel,” Abu Mujahid a-Shami, a member of the Islamic Union of Sham Soldiers, told Syria Direct Tuesday. The tunnel, blown up on Monday from the inside with explosives, “was partially destroyed, but it is possible to return it to working order,” Abu al-Hassan al-Andalusi, a Ghouta-based pro-opposition activist and journalist, told Syria Direct Tuesday. Measuring approximately 7km, the tunnel is a lifeline between opposition-controlled Harasta in eastern Ghouta and the Barzeh neighborhood, located 7km northeast of central Damascus, where a truce has been in place between rebel and regime forces since the beginning of 2014. The destruction of the tunnel follows a decision on August 1 by the Islamic Union of Sham Soldiers and Feilaq a-Rahman (two rebel factions operating in East Ghouta) to transfer control of it to the opposition’s civilian administration in order “to oversee the evacuation of civilians, ensure the provision of goods and monitor their distribution.” A-Shami denied any connection between the recent decision and the tunnel explosion, saying, “the East Ghouta theater is heated… any event will inevitably coincide with another event.”