DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) restarted its military operations in the East Ghouta pocket on Tuesday, capturing a chunk of territory from hostile Islamist rebels amid deadly clashes between the warring parties.

Led by the Republican Guard and Special Mission Forces, government forces captured 400 square meters of the Hawsh Al-Dahawirah farmland in the early morning hours.

In response, Jaish Al-Islam launched a counter-attack hours later that was completely repelled by the SAA, resulting in heavy casualties for the insurgent fighting force.

With the Islamist attack foiled, the SAA proceeded to storm the town of Hawsh Al-Dahawirah from three flanks. After a prolonged firefight, government troops captured three districts in the eastern part of the town, quickly fortifying the newly liberated positions.

Jaish Al-Islam came under heavy bombardment from Syrian airstrikes and SAA shelling, resulting in an estimated 40 casualties, a military sourced debriefing Al-Masdar News said. A rebel vehicle fitted with a 23mm machine gun was also destroyed in the process.

On the other hand, three SAA soldiers were confirmed killed-in-action (KIA) while an additional seven were wounded by hostile gunfire.

Now, Syrian government troops are waiting for new orders from their commander on when and how to assault the rest of Hawsh Al-Dahawirah town.

Two months ago, the SAA withdrew from Hawsh Al-Dahawirah, located directly southeast of the rebel-held city of Douma, a long-standing Jaish Al-Islam stronghold.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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