BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 P.M.) – With the conclusion of the Syrian Army’s operation in East Ghouta it has become apparent that government forces will now shift their attention towards what has become a threatening Islamic State presence in the southern districts of Damascus.
Islamic State forces in southern Damascus – the result of a sudden conversion of rebel ranks several years ago – have always been something of an enigma and only recently has their capability become known.
Against both pro-government forces and rival rebel groups, ISIS has rapidly expanded its control south of the Syrian capital since the beginning of 2018 through a series of rather brute offensives.
Existing estimates put the strength of the terrorist group’s forces in south Damascus at anywhere between 1,500 to 2,500 frontline fighters.
This seems reasonable and it might be the case that another three to four thousand armed people who are not necessarily proper ranked infantry but have nonetheless aligned themselves with ISIS are also present in areas it controls.
Finally, whether or not the Islamic State bastion is in possession of heavy weapons like main battle tanks and howtizers is unknown, however medium weapons such as mortars, high-powered rifles and platoon-level machine guns are known to be used (quite efficiently) by it.