For the last 38 days,  Al-Zabadani has been under siege by the Syrian Arab Army’s 63rd Brigade of the prestigious 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah; this has left the Islamist rebels from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” in a difficult predicament, with very few choices.

During the first days of this offensive at Al-Zabadani, Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces gave the Islamist rebels two options: either put down their weapons and surrender or prepare to fight until the last man.

This was a different approach than the previous battles that Hezbollah participated in because they were not offering the Islamist fighters an escape route to shorten the fight like the previous battles at Al-Qusayr and Yabroud.

Now, both sides are currently engaged in a 48 hour ceasefire that began on Wednesday at 6 A.M. (Damascus Time) and while this ceasefire has been maintained, the Islamist rebels inside Al-Zabadani know that in a short period of time, they will be under attack once again.

Unfortunately for the Islamist rebels, Hezbollah and the Syrian Armed Forces are not letting up on the siege, despite the rare interference by Iran and Turkey to allow for a 48 hour ceasefire inside the city.

In fact, the Islamist rebels only control a small parcel of territory in the Mahata District, leaving them on the brink of defeat inside one of the first cities to fall to the rebel forces in Syria.

Yesterday, 40 Islamist rebel fighters surrendered themselves to the Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah inside Al-Zabadani; however, more than 300 militants remain entrenched inside the Mahata District.

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While the success in Al-Zabadani will lift the spirits of the embattled Syrian Armed Forces, some difficult tasks remain ahead; these include the battle for Madaya to the south and Jaroud Rankous to the northeast.

 

 

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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