News ID: 211508
Published: 0349 GMT March 11, 2018

Syrian Army splinters terrorist enclave in Ghouta operation

Syrian Army splinters terrorist enclave in Ghouta operation

The Syrian Army broke apart the terrorist enclave in Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, cutting off two major towns from the rest of the area.

State television on Sunday broadcast from the Eastern Ghouta town of Mudeira, which the army had recaptured to link up with units on the other side of the enclave, Reuters reported.

A military media unit run by the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian government, said the army had also entirely surrounded the town of Douma.

Footage showed several massive plumes of smoke in the distance behind a townscape with big holes in walls and roofs, and yet more smoke wafting across the streets. The sound of blasts could be heard.

The advance on Mudeira, after the capture of the neighboring town of Mesraba on Saturday, has driven a wedge deep inside the terrorist-control territory, leaving the major towns of Douma and Harasta cut off.

The observatory said army fire on the roads linking the three places in Eastern Ghouta meant the enclave had been split.

Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam, the two largest terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta, have lost more than half the enclave's area in two weeks of ground fighting.

After the army advances split up the enclave, Jaish al-Islam emerged as the strongest group in the town of Douma, Ahrar al-Sham in the town of Harasta and Failaq al-Rahman in the new southern pocket of Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian state media also reported army advances near Jisreen and Aftaris in the southeastern part of the terrorist-held territory.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia say the operation is needed to end the terrorists’ rule over Eastern Ghouta's large population.

The government said on Saturday it had information that the terrorists were planning to stage a fake chemical attack to discredit the army.

While the government and Russia say they have set up safe routes into government-held territory, no civilians are known to have crossed through them yet.

Damascus and Moscow accuse terrorists of firing on anybody who tries to leave, something the terrorists deny though a Reuters witness said there was shelling and gunfire near one exit route on Friday.

Defeat in Eastern Ghouta would deliver the terrorists their biggest blow since December 2016, when a government offensive drove them from Aleppo, their largest urban stronghold.

Backed by Russian jets and other military assistance since 2015, Assad has gained momentum on several fronts across the country, driving terrorists from numerous pockets and recapturing swathes of the east from Daesh.

But he is still far from regaining control over the entire country. Terrorist groups hold large areas of the northwest and southwest, while northeastern Syria is in the hands of Kurdish militants.



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