DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:30 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) moved one step closer to liberating its capital on Sunday as government forces advanced significantly in the Al-Qaboun district, capturing many Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) militants in the process.
After imposing full control over the Qaboun Power Company facility in the morning, the SAA’s elite 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division – assisted by the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard – finally secured the Al-Hafez street and seized 40 buildings surrounding the Al-Qaboun electric station in the southern sector of the neighborhood.
Amid the offensive, Syrian troops unearthed a tunnel reportedly dug by Failaq al-Rahman (Free Syrian Army group) that linked the district to the East Ghouta pocket. The tunnel was large enough for a vehicle to drive through it, a source told Al-Masdar News.
All insurgent tunnels linking Barzeh and Al-Qaboun to the East Ghouta rebel heartland were otherwise believed to have been blown up weeks ago.
The military source also stressed that HTS, Jaish Al-Islam and the FSA were in a dire situation and thus expected to request an evacuation to Idlib in the near future, a deal which rebel commanders so far have turned down.
Once victory is achieved in Al-Qaboun and Barzeh, the SAA is expected to transfer its military personnel to liberate the East Ghouta enclave and finally finish of the Yarmouk pocket, effectively restoring the Syrian capital under government control for the first time since 2012. This development could free up 50,000 troops for other volatile frontlines.