Situation in East Ghouta morning of 12 March (Credit: Syrian Digital Media).

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:55 A.M.) – Following the split of rebel-held areas across Damascus’ East Ghouta region into two along the Masraba-Arbeen axis on Sunday afternoon, the Syrian Army is now making an all-out assault to force a third isolation of militant-controlled territory.

Since midnight on Monday until right now, assault units of the Syrian Army’ veteran 4th Mechanized Division have been in the midst of a major battle with jihadist fighters near the district town of Harasta in what is now the northern East Ghouta pocket.

The government onslaught is aimed at physically isolating (fire control already having been achieved) the Islamist stronghold town from the nearby rebel-controlled city of Douma and thus impose a three-way split of the insurgent presence in East Ghouta.

To this end, the latest battlefield reports indicated that the Syrian Army – backed up by Russian airstrikes – has come to within 200 to 300 meters of achieving this objective.

Harasta serves as a stronghold for two hardline jihadist factions: Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Ahrar al-Sham and Al-Qaeda affiliate Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name Jabhat al-Nusra).

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