Militants from an Al-Qaeda-linked group, Jaysh al-Islam, have shelled a UN humanitarian convoy near Damascus, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) is a coalition of Islamist militant groups based near the Syrian capital, Damascus. The group positions itself as “brother” fighters of the Al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda that is recognized as a terrorist group by the UN and many nations, including Russia, Iran and Egypt.
Jaysh al-Islam had previously admitted to using chemical weapons against Kurdish militias in Aleppo earlier this year. It is also known to have used human shields and published ISIS-style execution videos.
Yet, Jaysh al-Islam has a delegation at the UN-backed Syria peace talks in Geneva. And in mid-May, Washington blocked a Russian proposal at the UN to delegitimize Jaysh al-Islam over their regular violations of the ceasefire. Britain, France and Ukraine sided with the US.
Washington said it would continue to back the group because they were “vetted” by the Saudis and play a role in the Syrian political process.