DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:55 P.M.) – On Tuesday, shock units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) sliced through ISIS-held desert territory, seizing 20 square kilometers from the hardline jihadist group.

The surprise government advance, some six kilometers in depth, was conducted east of the Tishreen Power Plant in a region not far from Damascus International Airport.

Islamic State contingents largely withdrew from the sparsely populated area over the past week amid a tactical retreat through the Syrian Desert towards Palmyra. US vetted Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have also advanced in the area recently.

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Syrian state television confirmed the advance on Tuesday evening.

Strategically, this operation secures an important bufferzone around the East Ghouta pocket which speculations suggest that Jordanian-backed and US-trained Syrian rebels will try to reach in a bid to break its long-standing siege.

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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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