BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:40 A.M.) – Since the opening of a big Al-Qaeda-led offensive against a key Syrian Arab Army base in eastern Damascus three days ago, government troops have endured a hefty toll on their ranks.

On Friday, forces of Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly called Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) and Ahrar al-Sham (Muslim Brotherhood affiliate) kicked off a powerful offensive against the Syrian Army-held military vehicle depot base in the east Damascus district of Harasta.

According to reports from pro-government sources, the losses endured by units of the Syrian Arab Army (including Republican Guard troops) and National Defense Forces over the last three days now amounts to 47 dead, more than half of these it appears in just the last twenty-four hours alone.

In any case, Syrian army-led forces are not giving up on their operation to remain in control of the base, despite the fact that it is now virtually encircled by jihadist militias, with huge reinforcements from various pro-government formations (army and paramilitary) recently being sent to Harasta in preparation for a swift counter-blow.

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