Two months ago, the Islamist rebels from “Jaysh Al-Islam” (Army of Islam) launched a successful offensive inside the East Ghouta (collection of farms in eastern Damascus) town of Harasta, capturing several sites from the Syrian Armed Forces before obstructing the imperative Homs-Damascus Highway that was open for more than a year.

For more than a month, the Syrian Arab Army’s 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard – in coordination with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) – have conducted military operations inside Harasta in order to recover their lost territory and reopen the Homs-Damascus Highway.

The first two weeks did not go very well for the Syrian Armed Forces; however, things have changed recently, as the Republican Guard and their allies have stepped up their assault and applied more pressure on the Jaysh Al-Islam militants entrenched in this area of rural Damascus.

On Wednesday morning, the Syrian Arab Army’s 105th Brigade – alongside the National Defense Forces and the Palestine Liberation Army were able to recapture the Harasta Quarries, the Harasta Gas Station, and the Harasta Highlands after Jaysh Al-Islam an intense series of firefights forced Jaysh Al-Islam to withdraw towards eastern Douma.

As a result of this success, the Syrian Armed Forces are now in position to clear the Homs-Damascus Highway near the Wafadeen Camp that is located at the northeastern perimeter of Douma; this site is under the Syrian Army’s control, but south of the aforementioned highway is under Jaysh Al-Islam control.

With ISIS attempting to push west from Maheen (Homs Governorate) towards the Qalamoun Mountains, the Syrian Armed Forces will have step up their assault in order to possess the ability to combat the terrorist group from two different flanks.

 

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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