With the Anti-ISIS Coalition bombarding northern Syria, the battle for the Rif Dimashq Governate has escalated between the Syrian Arab Army and Jaysh Al-Islam. For Jaysh Al-Islam, the East Ghouta has long been their headquarters; this was one of the first areas to fall to the rebel forces during the advent of the armed conflict. If Jaysh Al-Islam loses the East Ghouta, the battle for Rif Dimashq will likely end all rebel operations, as the West Ghouta will then be at the mercy of the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard.
The Three Key Battles:
Isolated from the rebel forces in the East Ghouta, the Jobar District has been encircled by the Syrian Arab Army. The constant barrage of artillery shells and Syrian Air Force bombardments have destroyed Jaysh Al-Islam fortifications and killed many militants in the process. With the Syrian Arab Army capturing the Tayba Mosque, Teachers Tower, Fitana Towers, New Cemetery, and the Zamalka Bridge – the rebels are quickly crumbling inside the district. If the SAA can capture Parliament Square; it will likely force the rebels to surrender inside Jobar.
Wadi ‘Ayn Tarma:
Another area that is on the verge of liberation by the Syrian Arab Army is the village of Wadi ‘Ayn Tarma. The SAA are now in full control of the eastern sector of this town, after capturing the bridge leading to the town-center. Reports have emerged that Jaysh Al-Islam is on the verge of defeat, as the Republican Guard continues to push further west. Jaysh Al-Islam is providing intense resistance; however, the constant Syrian Air Force attacks have forced the rebels to retreat.
Perhaps the one area that will make or break this siege is the city of Douma. One of the most densely populated cities in the Rif Dimashq Governate; this battle will prove to be the Republican Guard’s most arduous and perplexing battle thus far. The vast network of tunnels that provide militants the ability to move weapons and supplies freely underground, will now be targeted by the Syrian Air Force’s merciless bombardments. Close quarters fighting and the SAA’s tanks immobility may delay fall of the city.
The battle for ‘Adra was costly for the SAA, as 73 soldiers were confirmed killed-in-action (K.I.A) – however, the battle for Douma will be the most violent of them all.