Rebels are waging a two-front war in the Qalamoun Mountains: fighting regime forces in the region’s western mountain range while trying to push the Islamic State out of the east. Islam Aloush, the official spokesperson for Jaish al-Islam, explains to Syria Direct’s Ammar Hamou how taking al-Afai mountain “opens up a supply route” originating in Syria’s north.
Q: The Islamic State has accused opposition battalions of leaving fronts with the regime in order to fight them. How do you respond?
“The accusations are untrue. We’re fighting IS and the regime both, and the fronts are witness to that, stretching from Aleppo to Qalamoun to Damascus to Daraa to Quneitra. Rather the opposite is true: On all the aforementioned fronts, IS has left its battle with the regime to fight the rebels.”
Q: What goals do you hope to achieve in eastern Qalamoun?
“The region from which our battle will begin has large strategic importance. It sits on a supply route leading from the north of Syria, and will become a center for launching military operations against both IS and the regime.”