Perhaps one of the least publicized fronts in this Syrian Conflict, the battle for the West Ghouta is an integral area that is located southwest of Syria’s capital; its rugged terrain holds the key to Damascus and to the southern part of the country.
For the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and National Defense Forces (NDF), losing the West Ghouta would be a disaster for their defenses and likely a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and their allies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
However, the tide has changed in this volatile area: the SAA – in cooperation with the NDF – carried out a powerful assault at the strategic town of Al-Kasswah on Monday morning, breaking through the Jabhat Al-Nusra defenses by 11 A.M. and asserted fire control over the area by 2 P.M. after fierce firefights between the two sides.
According to a military source from the 1st Armored Division, Al-Kasswah is one of the last strongholds for the Islamist militias; if lost, the cities of Khan Al-Sheih and Daraya would be the only remaining areas with a large presence of rebel fighters in the West Ghouta.
West of this area, the Syrian Arab Air Force’s (SAAF) Hind Helicopters were put to work at Al-Zabadani on Monday, as Hezbollah and the SAA’s 1st Armored Division continued their successful offensive at the eastern slopes of the city.
Hezbollah and the 1st Armored Division were able to expand their control over a number of small hills on the eastern slopes of this resort city; this has positioned the resistance forces approximately 600 meters from the western gates of Al-Zabadani.