BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:30 A.M.) – Amid very heavy clashes throughout the Harasta district of eastern Damascus, troops and armor of the Syrian Arab Army are clawing their forward against jihadist militants despite ferocious resistance.

As of late, the focus of Syrian Army operations in Harasta is the district’s orchard farms area and to this effect army troops and tanks managed to, during recent hours, score a 200 meter deep advance in the area after heavy rocket shelling by Gulan artillery systems.

The Harasta Orchards represent the first and most crucial line of defense held by Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked militants within the entire district. Some of the longest tunnels and most interlinked trench systems belonging to Harasta’s rebels run throughout the area.

The capture of this first line of defense by Syrian forces will, according to Al-Masdar News correspondent Ibrahim Joudeh, rapidly accelerate the collapse of militant resistance within Harasta.

In the meantime, Syrian Army commanders on the ground have called on additional storming units of the 105th Republican Guard Brigade to further bolster their offensive potential.

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