Three years ago, Islamist rebels brought the Syrian war to Damascus and entered several suburbs of the Syrian capital. While meeting stiff resistance from the Syrian Arab Army, insurgents did manage to take control of several districts, most notably East Ghouta and Darayya. At one point in time, rebel forces actually seized nearly 40% of Damascus.
Nevertheless, rebels inside the southern Damascus district of Darayya found themselves cut off from their comrades in eastern Damascus (east Ghouta). Meanwhile, rebel fighters also captured neighbouring Moddamieh and the road from Darayya to this suburb; however these two suburbs were (and are) completely sourrounded by hostile government troops.
As such, rebels inside Moddamieh and Darayya were completely cut off, while both suburbs were denied access to electricity and goods. Thus, all civilians from Darayya fled while residents inside Moddamieh forced rebels to sue for a peace deal with the Syrian Government which enabled for food and water to enter the district once again.
Inside Darayya, rebel leaders from the Free Syrian Army, Ajnad Al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra were quick to request aid from foreign countries as to effectively combat the Syrian Arab Army. Meanwhile, in August of 2013, Muhammad al-Zawahiri (brother of supreme al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri) was arrested by government forces near the city center of Darayya. His presence seems to suggest the lack of moderate rebel spokesmen inside various Damascus suburbs and subsequent lack of rebel supplies from abroad.
Less than two months ago, the Syrian Arab Army’s 41st Brigade, National Defence Forces of Damascus and some elements of the Republican Guard managed to capture the road between Darayya and Moddamieh. This not only obstructed rebels from transport between these two suburbs, it also halted all road-logistical goods and ammunitions which previously arrived from truce-Moddamieh to war-Darayya.
For now, rebel fighters inside the rebel stronghold of Darayya are technically subjugated; however, they reportedly have created a massive underground tunnel network which not only links them with supplies from Moddamieh but also helps them reach the largest rebel-held area of Damascus, namely east Ghouta.
Nevertheless, the Syrian Government seems intent to capture Darayya after more than 3 years of prolonged skirmishes. As such, Syrian engineers and the Syrian Arab Army are currently cooperating to destroy whatever insurgent tunnels they come across.
If the rebel infrastructure beneath the earth collapses, government troops will likely have rebel fighters more than willing to surrender and sue for amnesty. Effectively, soldiers loyal to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be able to hoist the Syrian flag in Daraya for the first time since late 2012.
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