BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The battle for east Damascus has been a costly one for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies, as several military personnel have been lost in pursuit of capturing the strategic suburbs of Jobar and ‘Ayn Tarma.
For weeks, the Syrian Arab Army has attempted to force the Islamist rebels of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham to surrender their remaining posts in ‘Ayn Tarma and Jobar; however, these groups continue to reject any offer from the government and for good reason.
As long as these groups maintain control of the Al-‘Arab District of Jobar and the central neighborhoods of ‘Ayn Tarma, they can always beat back the Syrian Army’s assault.
Furthermore, their large network of tunnels in the eastern suburbs of Damascus also makes it difficult for the Syrian Arab Army to advance into certain areas without losing a large number of military personnel.
According to a source from the Syrian Army’s 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, their forces have changed their approach in eastern Damascus.
Instead of storming the important neighborhoods in east Damascus, the Syrian Army is using heavy missiles and artillery shells to weaken the Islamist resolve and force them to flee these areas.
This approach recently worked in ‘Ayn Tarma, when the Syrian Army was able to capture the strategic entrance to the Harmalah Tunnel, which was a strong point for the Islamist rebels for years.
The Syrian Army will likely continue this approach for a quite a while until they are able to take control of these important areas.