Thomas Wictor

The Islamic State versus Hamas

The Islamic State versus Hamas

On April 1, 2015, the Islamic State assaulted the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria. As is always the case with Palestinians, the press refuses to tell us the reality of the situation. The British newspaper the Guardian calls Yarmouk a Palestinian refugee camp, but in a later piece describes it as “a bustling southern suburb of Damascus.” In response to the Islamic State attack on Yarmouk, Hamas has carried out reprisals in Gaza, and now we may see open warfare between the two groups.

First, what is Yarmouk?

Since it was established in 1957, and since the Guardian said that two years ago it was a “bustling suburb,” I’m not calling it a refugee camp. This is a refugee camp.


The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) of Bashar-al-Assad has besieged the suburb of Yarmouk for the past two years. Then on April 1, 2015, the Islamic State attacked Yarmouk in order to destroy Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis. This Hamas-linked armed group of Palestinians was active only in the Yarmouk suburb. It was allied with the al-Nusra Front—al-Qaeda’s representatives in Syria—against the Islamic State, but the al-Nusra Front allowed the Islamic State into Yarmouk for the specific purpose of annihilating Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis.

In Yarmouk the Islamic State comported itself the way it always does: It slaughtered the defenseless and beheaded at least one Hamas leader. By April 19, this was the mind-boggling situation.

Recently, it has become unclear which groups are fighting one another in southern Damascus, particularly in Yarmouk Camp.

Nusra Front used to hold control of the camp, along with other Palestinian and Syrian rebel groups, before ISIS entered. ISIS took control of the camp on April 1 and the Nusra Front was accused of permitting its entrance. Soon after, Nusra Front published a statement declaring neutrality in the battle in Yarmouk, suggesting that Nusra may have changed its prior opposition to ISIS. Later, Nusra’s support to ISIS in Yarmouk was confirmed, and currently fights within their ranks.

Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis, a Hamas-aligned militia, is another group present in Yarmouk and has been fighting along with the rebels for the last two years as Assad’s forces lay siege to the camp. After ISIS’ capture of the camp, according to [activist Khaled] Abu Walid, [Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis] made an alliance with the regime armed forces to fight ISIS and Nusra.

“Aknaf [Beit] Al Maqdis is over, it merged with the regime forces and fights along with them,” Abu Walid said, adding that the leader of Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis, Ahmad Zaghmout, received treatment in a Damascus regime hospital earlier this month.

The current situation in the camp is that Aknaf Beit Al Maqdis along with the regime forces are fighting ISIS from the northern side of the camp, Damascus side, while other rebel groups such as Jaysh al-Islam and Liwa Sham al-Rasoul, known as Islamist groups, are fighting ISIS from the southern side.

The SAA shelled Yarmouk and dropped barrel bombs on it for two straight years.

Once the Islamic State began its assault, the SAA dropped even more barrel bombs.

After being on the receiving end of this, the Palestinian fighters of Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis are now on the side of those who shelled them and dropped barrel bombs on their heads. The al-Nusra Front is fighting both the SAA and the Islamic State.

Yarmouk went from a population of 200,000 to less than 18,000.

‘Yarmouk is being annihilated’: Palestinians in Syria are left to their fate

Close to Damascus, refugees who survived a siege by Bashar al-Assad’s forces and assault by Isis endure merciless shelling and have ‘no food, electricity or water’

Yarmouk, once a bustling southern suburb of Damascus of 200,000 people, has been starved for two years in a relentless siege by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which has also blocked water supplies for months, a tactic that activists say constitutes the use of water as a tool of war.

Now the remaining 18,000 residents, many of whom suffer from ailments ranging from malnourishment to liver disease and illnesses linked to consuming tainted water, are mired on the frontline of the latest offensive by the terror group Islamic State, which has seized the majority of the camp.

“The situation inside the camp is catastrophic,” said Ahmad. “There is no food or electricity or water, Daesh [Arabic acronym for Isis] is killing and looting the camp, there are clashes, there is shelling. Everyone is shelling the camp.

“As soon as Daesh entered the camp they burned the Palestinian flag and beheaded civilians,” he said.

Remember the endless global screeching about the Palestinian casualties of Operation Protective Edge? Well, the world has just proved that it actually doesn’t give a damn about Palestinians. It simply hates Israel, and it hates Israel for one reason and one reason only: Jews.

Most of the Islamic State terrorists have left Yarmouk. Fighting continues, but since Yarmouk is in Syria, that’s like saying, “Rain continues falling in Portland, Oregon.”


Hamas has retaliated for the Yarmouk assault.

Clashes apparently spiraled [in Gaza] after Hamas demolished a mosque used by members of the Salafist organization called “Islamic State Supporters in Beit Al-Maqdis” as well as arrested nearly 40 of its members.

Reportedly, Hamas arrested the dozens of Salafists as well as several prominent Islamic State preachers in Gaza, following the Islamic State takeover of Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk, near Damascus.

“After ISIS beheaded several Palestinian, including a senior Hamas official,” inside the camp in April, the International Business Times reported, “the Palestinian Intelligence agency swore that it would avenge the killing of its personnel.”

In response, the ISIS-affiliated group in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave called Hamas “worse than the Jewish and American occupiers” and issued a proclamation on Monday giving Hamas 72 hours to release its detained members.

If not, the “ISIS Supporters in Beit Al-Maqdis” asserted they would kill, one by one, all of Hamas’ personnel.

If a full-on war breaks out between Hamas and the Islamic States in Gaza, will the BBC send Orla Guerin to stand next to an empty hospital bed and claim that the facility is so overcrowded that they have to treat patients in the parking lot?


If you need to vomit, read this Orwellian screed written for “peace and social justice.”

What seems clear is that the western press, governments and NGOs have treated barrel bombs as the devil’s weapon. The reason seems to be that while conventional bombs are capable of inflicting just as much damage and loss of life (and are being used extensively by the Ukrainian government), western arsenals do not contain barrel bombs. If these weapons can be sufficiently vilified as a weapon type rather than by their manner of use, Syrian military forces can be blamed for inhumane weaponry without the taint falling upon nations that use different weapons, even ones that are equally or more destructive. Oddly enough, the inhumane DIME and white phosphorous weapons used in Gaza did not provoke equal condemnation, even though the ratio of Israeli military to civilian casualties has been as much as 100 times higher than for the Syrian military.

Here’s the guy who wrote it.


I can’t imagine the amount of booze it would take to convince oneself that Israel hasn’t been condemned for the imaginary use of DIME and white phosphorus, and that Syrian barrel bombs are instruments of achieving peace and social justice.