Damascus – Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists executed a Syrian rebel fighter in Damascus’ Qalamoun District, local sources reported on Sunday.
Prior to his execution, Ahmed Abdulkarim al-Hayik was convicted of “fighting against the Caliphate” by the local Sharia Court. The unfortunate rebel had been captured in Qalamoun during a clash between ISIS and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Al-Hayik was a member of the Free Syrian Army’s Ahmad Alabdo Battalion. Wassim al-Doghmush, a local media activist, told ARA News that “the battalion has been fighting with ISIS militants in the district for months.”
“By executing al-Hayik, ISIS tried to send a message to the FSA factions that it’s still in control of major parts of the Qalamoun area and is capable of imposing its version of the Sharia law,” Doghmush explained.
Invading Damascus, Imposing Sharia Law
In October, the Islamic State threatened to invade Damascus and apply its puritanical interpretation of Sharia law throughout the capital. ISIS said that their invasion was imminent and vowed to strike at Syrian security forces and the armed opposition.
“Fighters of the Caliphate are preparing to enter the heart of al-Sham [Damascus],” the extremist group said in a statement.
ISIS has been in control of a residential block in southern Damascus since April 2015, when it drove out al-Qaeda-splinter group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and allied rebel factions. Jahbat Fateh al-Sham was previously known as Jabhat al-Nusra.
Al-Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood is believed to be the Islamic State’s primary staging area. Their militants also control most of the nearby Yarmouk and Tadamun Districts.
ISIS has accused the rebel groups in Damascus of working on behalf of Assad’s government and being apostates. “The time has come for the Caliphate’s fighters to take al-Sham [Damascus] from the infidels and their mercenaries,” the extremist group said.
Syrian journalist Mustafa Abde told ARA News that ISIS would likely try to open new fronts in southern Syria to direct attention from northern Iraq, where the group is hemorrhaging.
“This announcement comes after the group started to lose ground in Iraq amid deteriorating morale among its militants.” Abde reasoned. “ISIS is seeking new so-called victories to regain its reputation as a strong organization.”
Reporting by: Sadreddin Kino and Laila Majdalawi | Source: ARA News