Daesh Advances South of Damascus, Captures Position from Hamas-Affiliated Groups

On October 20, ISIS fighters attacked a position of the pro-Syrian opposition Palestinian armed group Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis east of the Palestine roundabout in the Yarmouk refugee camp south of the Syrian capital, Damascus city according the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq.

Amaq reported that ISIS fighters were able to capture the position. ISIS fighters also killed 4 fighters of Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis, and captured weapons and ammunition during the attack, according to Amaq.

Back on August 13, Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis, Jaysh al-Islam and Jaysh al-Ababel approved a de-escalation agreement that includes several areas south of Damascus city, one of them is Yarmouk camp. This was the first time Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis accepts a peaceful solution.

Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis was formed back in 2013 by Mamoun al-Jaloudi (Abu Jaafar Aknaf), a Jordanian- Palestinian citizen who was a military trainer in the Palestinian Hamas Movement, and a bodyguard of the former Hamas Leader Khaled Mashal. Al-Jaloudi was captured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) back in 2015.

Many Palestinian pro-opposition armed group affiliated with the Hamas Movement including Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis allowed terrorist organizations like Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) and ISIS to operate inside the Palestinian refugee camps across Syria since 2012.

In 2014, ISIS was able to beat all pro-opposition armed groups and Jabhat al-Nusra and captured most of the Yarmouk camp. Most of Hamas-affiliated armed groups fighters in the camp defected and joined ISIS back then.

This ISIS attack in Yarmouk camp is considered the first since 2014. The attack is likely an attempt by ISIS to sabotage the de-escalation agreement south of Damascus, and to de-stabilize the Syrian capital as the SAA is closing in on ISIS in eastern Syria.