The conglomerate of Islamist rebel factions known as “Jaysh Al-Fateh” (Army of Conquest) launched the second phase of their offensive at the predominately Shi’i towns of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya after negotiations mediated by Lebanese and Qatari dignitaries failed to satisfy Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham (largest faction in Jaysh Al-Fateh) and the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) terms.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command rejected the terms offered by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham to facilitate a withdrawal of their Islamist militants from the besieged resort-city of Al-Zabadani in exchange for the lifting of the siege of Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya; this offensive (Al-Zabadani) is still ongoing and reaching the latter stages of the battle.

On Monday morning, Jaysh Al-Fateh – led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” – began their assault on Al-Fou’aa and Kafraya by launching over 1,000 rockets, missiles, and mortar shells on these Shi’i towns, killing 16 civilians and wounding 30 others before they carried out their ground attack.

Following their ruthless bombardment, the Jaysh Al-Fateh factions charged the towns from all flanks, attempting to break-through the National Defense Forces (NDF) frontline positions.

Initially, Jaysh Al-Fateh achieved some success at the Kafraya-Brouma Farms axis; however, this changed after they pushed too far into NDF-held territory, resulting in the Islamist forces having to withdrawal back towards Brouma Farms.

Firefights are still ongoing between the Syrian Armed Forces and the Jaysh Al-Fateh factions; however, a military source has confirmed that there has been breach in their frontlines at any flank.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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