Posters offer a $6,300 reward for the capture of ISIS members in Eastern Ghouta.
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As a U.S.-led coalition pursues airstrikes against Al-Qaeda groups in Syria and Iraq, Syrian rebel and jihadist militias in the sprawling Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus have been experiencing their own, largely separate developments in their battles with both the regime and ISIS.Much is being made of the coalition's aerial campaign against ISIS and other groups – how the strikes could benefit the regime, and how it highlights the lack of rebel ability to defeat ISIS. While ISIS had a presence in the Eastern Ghouta earlier in the year, Zahran Alloush, the head of the Islam Army militia, declared war on the extremists in August, coinciding with the month of Ramadan.The journalist estimated that some 400 ISIS members were either killed, captured, defected or fled the Ghouta during August, punctuated by two major battles, in the suburbs of Maydaa and Misraba.The journalist argued that such a campaign would require tens of thousands of troops, playing down the possibility of a rebel collapse in its Eastern Ghouta "capital".One target of the U.S.-led campaign, the Nusra Front, is active in Eastern Ghouta and is not part of the joint operations room.
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