On Sunday morning, August 27, 2017, persons of the Security Office of Jaish al-Islam in Douma, an armed opposition faction controlling areas in Damascus countryside in Eastern Ghouta, arrested three prominent figures in the Directorate of Education of the Syrian Interim Government affiliated to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary Opposition Forces, the arrested figures were Adnan al-Salik, the Director of Education, Yaser Barkhesh, the Head of the Guidance and Curriculum Department, and Munir Abdel Aziz, the Public relations Manager, under the pretext of allowing male and female students to mingle at the honoring celebration set up to the superior students on August 26, 2017, which was sponsored by the Directorate of Education in Damascus countryside and by the Syrian Interim Government.
Both Adnan Al-Salik, the Director of Education along with Munir Abdel Aziz, the Public Relations Manager were arrested for six hours to be released later on the same day after their pledge to absolutely obey the authority of Jaish al-Islam, however, when Yaser Barkhesh, the Head of the Guidance and Curriculum Department refused to obey them, they continued arresting him until Monday evening, August 28, 2017, and was released only by mediation, Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ reporter stated.
Adnan al-Salik, the released man, spoke to STJ about the course of the investigation with him and with his colleagues, asserting that they had been subjected to psychological pressure and bad languages by security officers of Jaish al-Islam, he said:
"At first, they accused us of allowing mixing between men and women at the celebration, so we told them that few members of the Political Bureau of Jaish al-Islam were present, and that the celebration was held with the consent of the concerned members of Jaish al-Islamic after they were briefed on the arrangements for the celebration. The debate between us and the investigators continued until they presented us a pledge paper that included a number of items revolving around the non-marginalization of Jaish al-Islam in our activities and events, and asked us to sign it in exchange for our release. Mr. Munir, the Public Relations Manager and I signed that pledge, as a result of the psychological pressure that we were exposed to, but Mr. Yaser, the Head of the Guidance and Curriculum Department refused to sign saying “I did not commit anything that required me to sign”, therefore, he remained in prison until he was released the following day."
Monday, 28 August 2017, the staff of the Directorate of Education in Douma announced a strike as an expression of their outrage and their rejection of any violation of the educational institutions and their operators; the strike continued until the end of the official working hours on the same day but without any significant results. As a result, the protesters went on a sit-in in the Office of Akram Tomeh, the Deputy Chairman of the Syrian Interim Government, and during the sit-in, a delegation composed of a number of educational personalities along with the vice-President of the Syrian Interim Government was formed to go and meet the commanders of Jaish al-Islam. After a lengthy session between the two parties, both agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding between Jaish al-Islam and its security offices on the one hand, and the educational and civic institutions on the other hand, in addition, Jaish al-Islam pledged not to violate the other party, and to release the Head of the Guidance and Curriculum Department, Yaser Barkhesh, who spoke to STJ following his release, he said:
"They were exerting pressure on me to sign the pledge to ensure full compliance with the authority of Jaish al-Islam, and their means varied between soft and intensity. On Monday morning, the pressure on me became more acute, then, I realized that they were facing popular anger by the education employees until I was released later the same day."
It is worth mentioning that the celebration holders, led by Yaser Barkhesh, the Head of the Guidance and Curriculum Department, had informed the Security office of Jaish al-Islam in Duma on the program of the concert and its events prior to the celebration, and obtained the approval of Zqwan Mnawar, the head of the Sharia Body of Jaish al-Islam. However, this did not prevent them from being held accountable.