The resort city of Al-Zabadani is situated a few kilometers from the Lebanese border; it was one of the first cities to be captured by the armed opposition and it quickly became a thorn in the side of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), as the vast mountains provided shelter for the entrenched militants inside.
Finally, after almost three years since their last soldier withdrew from the city, the SAA’s 1st Division – in cooperation with the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah – has returned to reclaim Al-Zabadani and secure the Lebanese border with Syria.
On Friday, the SAA’s 1st Division continued to quietly expand their control over a number of areas in the Western Mountains overlooking Al-Zabadani, including Sher Al-Qarnah, Sher Al-Hawa, Sha’yab Al-Alad, Qasr Al-Nimroud, Bayr Kaas, Al-Sheikh Mansour, Ras Al-Quran, and Shaqeef Al-Ahmad.
To the east of Al-Zabadani, the SAA took control of Hikmat Hill inside the village of Salasiyah after fierce clashes with members of the Islamic Front and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra.”
In the Qalamoun Mountains, the SAA’s 1st Division killed the Libyan field commander of Jabhat Al-Nusra at the village of Faleeta on Friday morning – the Nusra field commander was identified as “Abu Azzam Al-Leebi.”