BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:25 P.M.) - The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside Hezbollah, resumed their military operations inside the strategic Wadi Barada area of rural Damascus on Sunday after taking a 24 hour hiatus to negotiate a peace settlement with the jihadist rebels.
Once the jihadist rebels refused to leave the Wadi Barada area on Sunday morning, the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah launched a powerful assault at the outskirts of Bassima, resulting in a violent battle with the jihadist rebels of Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.
According to a military source in Damascus, the jihadist rebels refused the Syrian government's offer of safe passage to the Idlib Governorate in exchange for the surrender of Wadi Barada.
The militants asked to remain in Wadi Barada in exchange for returning the water supply to the estimated 5 million people inside of Damascus; this was immediately rejected by the Syrian government, who wants no jihadist rebel presence in this region in western Syria.
In the coming hours, the Syrian Armed Forces will intensify their assault on Wadi Barada, in a new attempt to force the militants to surrender this area.