Fighting between the two major rebel groups in the Damascene suburb of east Ghouta does not cease as the suffering of families living in the area continues.
The rebel group Jaish al-Islam, which remains the strongest group in the Ghouta region, was founded in 2013 and has an estimated 2,000 militants in their ranks. They fight mainly against government forces but have also recently fought against another rebel group in the region called Faylaq al-Rahman. Faylaq al-Rahman, which was founded in 2012 and is affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), has recently made an alliance with Hayy’at Tahir al-Sham (HTS).
In the principality of al-Nashabiya, M-Mohammad is living with her children and grandchildren after they were displaced from the central sector by Faylaq al-Rahman. The mother of Muhammad says the reason for her expulsion is her sons’ affiliation with Jaish al-Islam. She says, “We were living together in the house of my mother my children. On the day the problems occurred between them, they drove us out, and we came here without any mattresses or pillows. We have put our belongings on the ground and neighbours provided us with what they can”.
According to the statistics office of Ghouta, Faylaq al-Rahman along with HTS, have displaced 700 families from the central sector, most of whom were displaced after their homes were destroyed in the towns and villages of al-Marg.
The office added that it was able to secure only 300 families in five safe places. The rest of the families had to live in homes that are close to the fighting fronts with the Assad regime, which makes their lives vulnerable and increases their suffering. As one official says, “The number of migrant families in this sector has reached about 750 families. These families live as you can see in houses spread on the front lines because there are no houses in safe places. People have been living on the front lines and there is great difficulty in securing their relief and medical needs”.
Aid and medical equipment are desperately needed immediately as well as safe living conditions and a return to normal life. This conflict has taken its toll on rebels and non-combatants alike. With an uncertain future to look forward to, all these families are capable of doing now it to take care of each other.