Earlier today, during the morning hours and afternoon, the Syrian Arab Army’s 15th Brigade of the 5th Armored Division – in close coordination with the National Defense Forces and the 7th Mechanized Division – stormed the western district of Sheikh Meskin and imposed full fire control over the Sweida-Nawa road which runs horizontally through the city. Effectively, government troops are now in control of 95% of Sheikh Meskin.
According to an al-Masdar source from the Republican Guard in Damascus, most rebels have already fled Sheikh Meskin while a platoon of defiant Islamist fighters remain in the southwestern fringes of the city. Furthermore, a few dedicated Jabhat al-Nusra fighters have entrenched themselves inside a small isolated rebel-held enclave in the western district of Sheikh Meskin. Nevertheless, these areas are expected to collapse in the hours to come as the Syrian Arab Army continues to advance during the evening.
Today’s offensive was heavily aided by Russian airstrikes and Syrian artillery shells which largely leveled Islamist defences inside the city to the ground. During the day, Syrian Army tanks patrolled the main roads of the city while providing covering fire for advancing government troops who found themselves heavily involved in urban combat.
A few hours ago, the city of Sheikh Meskin was falsely reported entirely captured by Al-Jazeera Arabic . However, the incorrect intel given to Al-Jazeera is believed to have been caused by their sources in the Free Syrian Army fleeing the city this morning – meanwhile, a few hardline Islamists from other factions decided to stay and fight the Syrian Arab Army inside the city to the death.
If the Syrian Army does in fact capture Sheikh Meskin entirely, this would have them set to attack rebel fighters in either the city of Nawa to the west or the towns of Ibta and Dael to the south.