fighters liberate positions west of Zabadani
Syrian forces and fighters of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah have liberated some positions held by militants in Syria’s southwestern city of Zabadani.
Syria’s al-Ekhbariya news channel said Tuesday that the allied forces seized control of at least eight major buildings in Zabadani’s western neighborhood of Hay Hamis, killing “tens” of terrorists operating there.
The report said Syrian forces also recaptured “many” buildings and hideouts of the militants in the al-Saylan neighborhood.
Syrian forces and Hezbollah fighters had already made some inroads in western parts of Zabadani, clearing the militants from key areas in the al-Jameat district. According to reports, clashes still continue between the allied forces and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front terrorists in the area. Members of Ahrar al-Sham, another terrorist group operating in Zabadani, are also involved in the battle.
“We freed some buildings in Zabadani that the terrorists had captured and we will continue the operation until the last terrorist is eliminated from the district,” a Syrian serviceman said, adding that recapturing the western neighborhoods of Zabadani enables the allied forces to reinforce positions in the area.
Syria’s official news agency SANA confirmed the advance in al-Jameat, saying the army units have “established control over a number of building blocks at Abu Ayshe Villas.”
The joint offensive by the Syrian army and Hezbollah in Zabadani is part of a wider operation to fully recapture Qalamoun, a mountainous region which straddles the Syrian-Lebanese border. Before the offensive started in late May, terrorists used the highly strategic area for smuggling weapons and forces into Syria.
The liberation of Zabadani, which is located 50 kilometers (more than 30 miles) north of the Syrian capital, Damascus, is of high importance for the Syrian government and Hezbollah forces as they can better cooperate to establish security along the border area.
According to the latest reports, the allied forces are planning to launch a sweeping offensive into the southeastern neighborhoods of Zabadani, where the terrorists are holed up in their few remaining positions.
Army advances in Idlib
Moreover, in northwestern Syria, the government forces managed to retake some positions east of the city Jisr al-Shughur in the Idlib province, inflicting heavy losses on the militants operating in the area.
Lebanese TV channel al-Manar TV reported that Syrian forces launched a lightning offensive into a thermal power plant in the Sahl al-Ghab region and purged the militants from the facility, further consolidating their positions in the south and east of the town.
Jisr al-Shughur fell to the hands of an alliance of Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham militants last April.
The advance on Tuesday gave the Syrian forces full control over the eastern parts of the city, which is regarded as the gateway to the Idlib countryside.