Syria troops retake key hilltops on Damascus outskirts
Syrian forces have managed to purge strategic hilltops on the northeastern outskirts of the capital, Damascus, of Takfiri militants as part of ground anti-terror operations under Russian air support.
On Saturday, Syrian army troops established full control over the hilltops overlooking the city of Harasta, located about 25 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of Damascus, as well as those behind Douma, situated about 10 kilometers (six miles) northeast of the capital, Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen satellite news network reported.
The development came a day after Syrian armed forces launched a large-scale military offensive against Takfiri terrorists in the southern countryside of Aleppo, located 355 kilometers (220 miles) north of Damascus.
A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syrian forces had already regained control of the towns of Ebtin and Hadadin al-Gharbiyeh as well as al-Kassarat and al-Madajen areas in the province before beginning the operation.
Also on Saturday, Russian fighter jets carried out at least 30 airstrike in the militant-held Eastern Ghouta region near the capital, pounding terrorist hideouts in the villages of Deir al-Asafir, Bala and Marj al-Sultan. There were no immediate reports of casualties within militant ranks.
Russia warplanes also bombarded the strongholds of Takfiri Jabhat al-Shamiyya terrorists in Aleppo suburbs.
Moreover, Russian military aircraft targeted militant positions in Salma and Ayn al-Ghazal villages plus the town of Kinsabba in the northwestern Syrian province of Latakia.
Russian jets also hit terrorist positions in the towns of al-Rastan, Zafarana, Um Sharshouh and Ghantou in Syria’s central Homs Province, though no word on militant casualties were immediately available.
On Friday, Russian Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov said “demoralized” Daesh Takfiris are now abandoning the extremist terror group “en masse” amid Moscow’s ongoing anti-terror air strikes in Syria.
Syria’s battles against terrorists have entered a new phase since Russia responded positively to a request from Damascus and began an aerial campaign in late September against the positions of the terrorist groups operating in the Arab state over the past four years.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and left over one million injured, according to the United Nations.