BEIRUT, LEBANON (0:10 A.M.) – After weeks of gearing up for a long-awaited assault, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) finally achieved a breakthrough in Al-Qabun amid intense urban clashes with Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions.
Targeting the southwestern sector of the suburb, elements of the SAA’s 4th Mechanized Division and 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard captured their first buildings inside Al-Qabun and advanced 700 meters through the imperative eastern Damascus district.
Overnight, a batch of Republican Guard reinforcements arrived on the Al-Qabun front; this unit led the operation alongside the 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division.
Beginning at daybreak on Friday, elite SAA assault troops proceeded to break through the first rebel defensive line and dislodge insurgents from dozens of buildings. By late afternoon, government forces also captured a HTS weapons storage facility.
Now, the SAA is within striking distance of Al-Hafez street and has thus reached downtown Al-Qabun. Clashes continued as darkness settled over the Syrian capital while artillery strikes and air raids targeted militant positions relentlessly on Friday evening.
The SAA offensive was put into effect after local Islamist commanders refused to evacuate their fighters to the rebel heartland of Idlib province.
The offensive is commanded by Brigadier General Ali Mahmoud and Colonel Ghayath Galla; these prominent army commanders also masterminded the recent Wadi Barada campaign.