This evening, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) wrestled the Rikabiyah Farms from insurgents loyal to the Islamic Front in eastern Damascus (East Ghouta).

Spearheading the offensive was a joint special forces unit of the SAA’s Republican Guard and Hezbollah (Lebanese paramilitary).

Ten days ago, the Syrian Armed Forces captured the village of Rikabiyah in a move that further isolated rebels in the southern pocket of East Ghouta.

Meanwhile, Islamist groups are fighting each other over control of the East Ghouta region; this in turn greatly reduces their manpower at the frontline with government soldiers.

Remarkably, preliminary reports also suggest that the SAA has entered Zabdeen (an Islamist stronghold) from its southern entrance.

However, al-Masdar cannot independently verify this claim.

Nevertheless, government assault troops are expected to attack Zabdeen and Deir al-Asafir in the coming days.

These two villages represent the final major strongholds of Islamist insurgents in the southern pocket of East Ghouta.

Due to a pincer offensive that saw the SAA seize Marj al-Sultan and most recently Bala al-Kadhim, local rebels have been unable to receive supplies, ammunition nor reinforcements for weeks due to fire control between the aforementioned towns.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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11/05/2016 = 11th May 2016