Yesterday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) managed to capture the farms east of Marj Al-Sultan while subsequently entering the village of Al-Bilaliyah. Thereby, a bufferzone has been established around the recently captured helicopter base of Majr al-Sultan
This advance comes on top of a string of SAA gains over the past few months inside the capital of Damascus as government troops continue to enter areas which have been held by Islamist rebels since 2012.
Since the main rebel group in East Ghouta, Jaish al-Islam, had its leader Zahran Alloush killed by the Syrian Airforce last week, Islamist rebels have slowly, yet steadily conceded territories to the Syrian Army on the eastern fringes of Damascus.
Currently, local insurgents control a dangerous southern bulge around Dayr al-Asafir. Meanwhile, government troops are advancing at both flanks of this town – most rapidly at the Majr al-Sultan front. Thus, a classic pincer movement spells trouble for rebel defenders of the area as an all-out attack seems imminent.