BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 A.M.) -The Syrian Arab Army has kicked-off a new offensive operation in Damascus aimed at expelling Al-Qaeda-linked militants from a key rebel-held town on the city’s eastern periphery – the assault is being backed up by a crescendo of heavy rocket fire.

Forces of the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard and 9th Armored Division have started, in earnest, their operation to expel Al-Qaeda affiliate militia Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) alongside other armed rebel groups from the district town of Harasta in eastern Damascus.

According to military-affiliated sources, Syrian Army storming forces began their assault on Harasta at 3:30 A.M.

The infantry attack follows a preceding day (well over 24 hours) of heavy rocket bombardment by Syrian Army Gulan systems which is still ongoing.

Harasta is also a stronghold for another jihadist faction – this one affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood – know as Ahrar al-Sham.

The Islamist militant group has, over the last month, conducted operations against the Syrian Army in very close cooperation with Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham, including an offensive against the army-held vehicle depot base.

 

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