On Saturday morning, Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam) launched a fresh offensive at the formerly reconciled city of Harasta after the leader of this Islamist group – Zahran ‘Alloush – returned to the East Ghouta (collection of farms) area of the Rif Dimashq Governorate, following a series of trips that included a brief stay in Turkey.
Jaysh Al-Islam began their assault in Harasta by targeting a checkpoint manned by the National Defense Forces (NDF); this attack proved successful for the Islamist group, as they were able to secure the checkpoint and the street after fierce clashes with the NDF.
Following their capture of the checkpoint, Jaysh Al-Islam attacked another NDF checkpoint near the Al-‘Ajami Mosque, resulting in the seizure of both the checkpoint and the mosque after another series of intense firefights took place.
The Islamist fighters of Jaysh Al-Islam were able to seize two more building blocks near the Al-‘Ajmi Mosque, which possessed a number of residential buildings; this also allowed the armed combatants of Jaysh Al-Islam to impose control over more territory inside Harasta.
However, their success at Harasta was clouded by the powerful airstrikes from the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF), who relentlessly bombarded the Islamist militants with an array of airstrikes on Saturday afternoon.