BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 P.M.) – Moments ago, yet another Islamist stronghold in Damascus’ East Ghouta region fell into the hands of the Syrian Army amid a relentless offensive government operation that is now in its eighth day.

According to military-affiliated sources, the elite Tiger Forces Division of the Syrian Army has seized control of Ash-Shifuniyah after a two-day long battle between government troops and rebel fighters of the Jaysh al-Islam militant group.

The victory at Ash-Shifuniyah comes hours after the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard captured the stronghold town of Beit Naem (several kilometers to the south), de facto ripping apart long-standing insurgent defense lines in the southern sector of the East Ghouta pocket.

By this advance the Syrian Army has captured its second town of the day (Sunday) and burst open the door for its expected advance on Masraba which, if successful, will allow it to split rebel-held territories within East Ghouta into two parts and isolate the strategic city of Douma.

Updates to follow.

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