Jaysh al-Islam spokesperson Islam Alloush denied that the Syrian regime would launch a wide-scale offensive in Qalamoun, despite recent media reports of battles in the mountain region near Lebanon's border.
“The Qalamoun battle [will not] happen.. It is merely a media war,” the rebel official told pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper in comments published Monday.
Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported Saturday that scores of refugees were fleeing fighting outside the Qalamoun village of Qara, which began Friday night in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
However, Alloush claimed that Qalamoun is the “capital of Jaysh al-Islam” and that his group has an “excellent” military situation in the area.
He added that Jaysh al-Islam had in past months taken over 13 regime barracks in the region and seized ammunition and missiles from weapon stores.
Alloush also stressed that his brigade does not cooperate, nor is it at loggerheads, with the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham or the Al-Nusra Front.
It does, however, cooperate with the Free Syrian Army, according to Alloush.
Jaysh al-Islam was formed in September as a coalition of over 50 rebel brigades in the Damascus area under the auspices of the Liwa al-Islam rebel group headed by Zahran Alloush.