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Jaysh al-Islam Military Academy

Photographer: Mohammed Badra

 

For the past eight months, EPA award-winning photographer Mohammed Badra covered the intense military training of the Jaysh al-Islam armed group, the military ruler for eastern Ghouta, held for members of its military academy in an undisclosed location, in rebel-held eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria.

 

The Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) rebel armed group was formed in 2011 as Liwa al-Islam (Flag of Islam), and renamed to Jaysh al-Islam in 2013 after merging with other rebel factions operating around Damascus. The main areas of its operation are eastern Ghouta, southern and eastern Damascus, and the greater Daraa area.

 

In February 2016, Jaysh al-Islam announced the establishing of a military academy, after efforts by its former leader Zahran Alloush, who died in December 2015. The academy is conducted in cooperation with the Military Council for Damascus and its suburbs.

 

The goals of the academy are to graduate fighters with thorough background in fighting tactics, and to enlist its graduates in the newly formed Unified Syrian National Army called for by various rebel groups.