BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside Hezbollah, continued their large-scale assault in the Wadi Barada area of west Damascus on Monday, striking the jihadist defenses at several sites around the small towns of Bassima and Deir Maqran.

Led by the 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah began the day firing several anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) at the enemy defenses, scoring direct hits on a number of armored vehicles and militant hideouts in the Wadi Barada area.

Following the barrage of missiles, the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah stormed the enemy defenses north of Deir Maqran; this resulted in a series of intense firefights that are still ongoing at the moment.

No significant gains have been reported to Al-Masdar as of yet; however, the purpose of today’s assault seems to be about forcing the jihadist rebels to negotiate the surrender of Wadi Barada, not seizing land.

Wadi Barada, which is mostly under the control of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, is the key to the water crisis in Damascus; as long as it remains under militant control, the government will not have the ability to restore the water supply to the estimated 5 million people in the historical Syrian capital.

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