Syria in Last 24 Hours: Terrorists Flee Southwestern Damascus amid Army Advances
The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at or the Levant Liberation Board) terrorists sustained heavy casualties and losses during fierce clashes with the Syrian army over taking control of different areas in Southwestern Damascus.
The Syrian army also continued its advances in other key provinces across Syria.
The al-Nusra Front terrorists escaped the Southwestern areas of Damascus to occupied Golan as the Syrian army has gained military control over the militant-held regions.
A field source confirmed on Thursday that the army has intensified its missile and artillery fire against al-Nusra bases and moves in Tal Za’arta and Mughur al-Mir in the Eastern parts of Beit Jinn farms, stressing that a large number of terrorists have been killed and tens of others have fled the battleground towards Beit Jinn farms.
He added that Beit Jinn has been fully surrounded after all roads linking the terrorists in Beit Jinn from the Northeastern and Southeastern front were cut and the army regained military control over Nahr al-Awaj- the only road linking terrorists in Beit Jinn to Tal Marwan and Mughur al-Mir.
Also, based on the field reports, a number of al-Nusra terrorists have made attempts to flee to occupied Golan from Jabal al-Sheikh passageway following the army’s advance in the region and imposing heavy defeats on the terrorists.
The Syrian army troops made rapid advances against the Al-Nusra Front on Wednesday and managed to seize military control over terrorist-held regions in Southwestern Damascus.
The army’s artillery and missile units pounded the Al-Nusra’s positions hard in the regions of Mughur al-Mir and Beit Jinn.
Also, a field source said that the army inflicted tens of casualties on the Al-Nusra and managed to advance towards Tal (hill) Za’arafta located on the Eastern direction of Beit Jinn Farm.
The source further added that the army has cut off all the supply lines of the Al-Nusra from Beit Jinn Farm to the village of Mughur al-Mir and Mughur al-Mir hill, imposing military control over the entire regions out of its control in Jabal al-Sheikh region.
Another military source said the army made a series of crucial advances against the Al-Nusra Front in Beit Jinn valley region, capturing a number of key hilltops and gaining full fire control over the entire Beit Jinn pocket within which militants are now hopelessly trapped.
Field sources confirmed on Thursday that over 120 gunmen that had laid down their weapons and joined peace with the Syrian army in Homs province have received government amnesty.
The sources reported that the militants in the towns of al-Rastan, Talbiseh, Palmyra, al-Qasir, Talklakh and al-Hasan and a number of districts in Homs city and the nearby areas had handed over their arms to the army soldiers and were pardoned by the Damascus government.
The gunmen received amnesty and returned to normal life, the sources said.
The Syrian army has sent a large number of reinforcements and military equipment to Northern Hama to regain control over the important bases occupied by al-Nusra Front, local sources reported on Thursday.
The sources reported that the army has dispatched a military convoy to the towns of Taybat al-Imam and Halfaya in Northern Hama.
They added that the army will start a massive operation from this region to purge al-Nusra terrorists from their important stronghold in al-Latamina.
Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets pounded the al-Nusra militants’ positions in the region, inflicting heavy damages and tolls on the terrorists.
Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) ratified the agreement with Syria on expanding the Russian naval supply facility in the Syrian port of Tartus.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the document to the Duma on December 13, and according to the agreement, Russia has the right to have up to 11 warships deployed to the facility at the same time. Besides, the agreement stipulates that Russia will operate the naval facility, TASS reported.
“Russia has the right to send the necessary number of troops to maintain the naval facility,” the document said.
Besides, the naval facility will have full immunity from Syria’s civil and administrative jurisdiction. Its movable and immovable property is immune from search, seizure and other proceedings. The troops deployed to the naval facility, as well as their family members, will enjoy immunity and privileges similar to those provided to diplomats.
Syria will be responsible for the protection of the naval facility, while Russia will ensure the security of the maritime borders and missile security.
The duration of the agreement is 49 years but it can be automatically prolonged for a period of 25 years in case none of the parties sends a written notification to the other at least one year before the period expires notifying about its plans to terminate the agreement.
“The ratification of the agreement is of strategic importance,” Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky said addressing the Duma’s plenary meeting.
“The presence of a Russian naval facility on Syria’s territory is totally in line with the objectives of ensuring regional peace and stability, it is purely defensive and is not aimed against other countries,” he added.
A number of militants backed by the Turkish army were killed and wounded in clashes with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Afrin region in Northern Aleppo, the Kurdish media outlets reported.
Hawar news reported on Thursday that the Turkish army and its affiliated militants launched offensives against the village of Burjak Suleiman and Badr Khan, Bashour and Barfin hills near the town of Afrin and attacked the two villages of Ain Daqneh and Mara’anaz in al-Shahba region with mortar fire.
Meantime, clashes between the two sides in the villages of Burjak Suleiman and Talat Barfin killed one of the snipers affiliated to the Turkish army and wounded another one.