On Friday night, the Syrian Arab Army’s 102nd Brigade of the Republican Guard – backed by Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces (NDF) – began the 2nd phase of their East Ghouta offensive that targeted the imperative village of Rukabiyah near the Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam) stronghold of Deir Al-‘Assafir.
According to an Al-Masdar correspondent in Damascus City, the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah captured all but 3 checkpoints in Rukabiyah, leaving only a small portion of the village under rebel control.
The Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah have already captured the southern part of the town after launching their assault from the nearby villages of Sheba’a and Hatite Al-Turkman.
The purpose of this offensive is to clear the highway near the Damascus International Airport; if successful, they will have the strategic town of Dayr Al-‘Assifir become inaccessible to the rebel forces.
More importantly, capturing Al-Rukabiyah will properly position the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah for the imminent Dayr Al-‘Assifir offensive. The rebel forces protecting this village are Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group).