During mopping-up operations on Tuesday, soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) officially captured and secured all farm areas between Bala al-Jadida and Jisreen, two villages located on the southern flank of the East Ghouta (Damascus).
The area was cleared after sporadic clashes with rebel fighters of Failaq al-Rahman, an Islamist group significantly weakened and reduced in manpower after regional infighting with Jaish al-Islam.
Yesterday’s government advances were especially enabled by the SAA’s UR-77 mine clearing vehicles as they rendered rebel booby traps and mines completely ineffective while also reducing potential SAA casualties.
Government troops have pushed forwards on three flanks in the East Ghouta lately, with a southern rebel pocket collapsing, the town of Bahariyah captured and clashes ongoing at Mayda’a. On the other hand, Islamist rebels have enforced somewhat of a stalemate around Douma and Jobar, the western and northern flank.
If the SAA is to seize the East Ghouta entirely, this will free up thousands of government troops – including significant numbers of the SAA’s elite Republican Guard – for other frontlines across Syria.