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Syrian Army eyes last jihadist stronghold in west Damascus

20 April 2017 12:56

 

The departure of all hostile militants from the towns of Madaya and Al-Zabadani was a major boost for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies from Hezbollah in the western countryside of Damascus.

However, the battle for west Damascus is not quite over, as the jihadist rebels from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham still control the town of Beit Jinn near the Golan Heights border.

Beit Jinn has long been under jihadist control and it still remains one of the most important towns located along the provincial borders of the Damascus and Al-Quneitra governorates.

What makes Beit Jinn important to the Syrian Arab Army is its proximity to Jabal Sheikh (Mount Hermon) and the strategic town of Hader; these two areas have been threatened in the past by the jihadist rebels and need to be fully secured.

At the turn of the new year, the Syrian Arab Army deployed its elite 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division to the Beit Jinn front; however, due to the massive offensive launched by the jihadist rebels in east Damascus, this unit was forced to return to the Syrian capital.

Now, the Syrian Arab Army has formed a new group that is prepared to carry out this attack on Beit Jinn and future offensives in the Golan Heights and Al-Quneitra Governorate.

This new unit has been named by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence as the “Southern Shield Brigade,” which is modeled after the 3rd Division’s elite “Qalamoun Shield” forces.

While the exact date of this offensive has not yet been determined, it is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, as the Syrian Arab Army presses forth towards Beit Jinn from the nearby town of Sa’sa.

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