Yet again, infighting between the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has played straight into his hands. On April 28, yet another violent chapter was opened in the slow-rolling collapse of the insurgency around the Syrian capital, in a region known as the East Ghouta.
Early in 2016, this suburban-rural enclave broke apart in chaotic infighting, leaving hundreds of rebel combatants dead at the hands of their supposed brothers-in-arms and dividing the local insurgency neatly down the middle. The result was as predictable as it was disastrous for the insurgency: since then, Assad’s government has retaken around half of the enclave’s territory.
A year later to the day, the rebels have returned to fighting amongst themselves. If the renewed internecine conflict between Islamist insurgent groups is not brought under control, it may well give the Syrian government what it needs to finally crush the last rebel enclave near Damascus.