The West Ghouta city of Darayya was one of the first areas in the Rif Dimashq Governorate to experience violent clashes between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and armed militias loyal to the Syrian Opposition; it was also one of the first areas to adhere to a ceasefire. However, in mid-2013, the ceasefire was broken when militants from Jaysh Al-Islam (formerly Liwaa’ Al-Islam) and Jabhat Al-Nusra attacked SAA checkpoints near the Sayyida Al-Sukayna Shrine; thus, resulting in a counter-offensive by the SAA and Hezbollah fighters.
Fast forward to December 2014, the SAA launched an attack on the Jaysh Al-Islam strongholds within the city’s eastern perimeter, killing scores of militants and confiscating militant supplies stockpiled in a large tunnel. Discovered inside the tunnel was a large cache of weapons, ammunition, food, medical drugs, telecommunication devices, and bags of foreign currency. As a result of their attack, the SAA was able to capture 4 building blocks in the east neighborhoods, while another unit targeted militants near the village of Al-Habeeb.
The firefights between the SAA and Jaysh Al-Islam are still ongoing, despite the frigid temperatures and the absence of sunlight. Both groups are engaged in a tireless battle to regain control of parcels of territory; this has resulted in high casualties for both parties involved. According to a military source, 8 SAA soldiers were killed in battle; meanwhile, Jaysh Al-Islam suffered 23 confirmed casualties today.
Identified Jaysh Al-Islam fighters killed at Darayya:
1. Hamza ‘Abdel-Wahhab
2. Mahmoud Abu Fahd
3. Shaher Abu Teem
4. Jihad Abu Mohammad
5. ‘Amjad Abu Mohammad
6. Hamaam Abu ‘Aaz