This article by Ziad Majed has been translated from the original Arabic by Ullin Hope.
Zahran Alloush, the leader of Jaysh al-Islam (Eastern Ghouta’s largest armed Islamist faction, which has total control over the town of Douma near the Syrian capital Damascus) is visiting the Turkish city of Istanbul.
This means the man has succeeded in leaving an area that the Assad regime has placed under siege, and arranged his visit through coordination with the Turkish authorities. Or perhaps it was the Turkish authorities that invited him, within the framework of the much-talked-about efforts Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been making recently. The three influential states, as we have heard, are working to provide certain Syrian opposition forces with quality military support that would allow them to escalate pressure on Assad’s forces, his Iranian protectors, and the Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghan militias that support him—especially on fronts in southern Syria, Damascus, Qalamoun and Aleppo.
Amid all this commotion, there is one point that should not be overlooked: Zahran Alloush has been accused, by a large number of Syrian opposition figures, of many transgressions and malpractices, the most serious of which is the kidnapping of Razan Zeitoune, Samira al-Khalil, Wael Hamadeh and Nazem Hammadi in Douma on 9 December 2013.