Details of al-Matahen Battle in Eastern al-Ghouta Aug 3, 2013 | By Hussein Mortada


The Syrian Army’s accomplishments in several axes in Homs and Idlib’s countryside come in parallel to the Syrian Arab Army imposing a security belt around the Eastern al-Ghouta area, which had witnessed the most violent battles in al-Matahen in Damascus’s countryside.

Events in al-Matahen battle shadowed over the armed groups’ morale after the Syrian Army had executed the ultimate plan flawlessly.

Al-Matahen area is considered one of the most important strategic surveillance points because of its tall buildings, which makes long-distance vision attainable.

Whoever controls the buildings is able to stake out the airport’s surrounding and the Airport Highway as well as villages like al-Marej, al-Ghasoula, al-Gezlanieh, and al-Mansourah.

Therefore, the area is counted as a defensive front for the military force advancing in the Eastern al-Ghouta area; whoever controls al-Matahen guarantees the supply lines from and to the airport and al-Ghouta.

This means that if the armed forces took control over the area, it would help in lifting the blockade off the armed groups in al-Ghouta and reactivating communication between the armed men in several areas.

As for the economic significance of al-Matahen, it is considered one of the most important storage centers for wheat and flour in Damascus’s countryside, which drove the surrounded militiamen in Eastern al-Ghouta months ago to attack it and steal the wheat and flour.

The armed groups began to recruit men from various areas in Eastern al-Ghouta and took Hatitia al-Turkman town as their base, aiming at invading al-Matahen.

The Syrian Army’s surveillance units gathered intelligence, took the decision to set an ambush in al-Matahen, and began preparations…

Armed men attacked al-Matahen protected by a few Syrian soldiers only. To deceive the gunmen into thinking they controlled al-Matahen, the Syrian Army units retreated, and within hours, al-Matahen was completely surrounded and hundreds of armed men were trapped inside.

The leader of the military operation offered them to turn themselves in, but they refused. So the field operation leadership had no choice but to invade al-Matahen.

Meanwhile, the armed groups thought the battle would take some time and they have lots of time for aid to arrive, but it turned out to be the exact opposite; The Syrian Army initiated the operation from three axes and the fourth was an ambush set by the Army to all those trying to flee from the battle.

Under a shower of fire, the armed suddenly woke up to what is happening and yet could not deal with the intense confrontation.

The battle didn’t last long as the Syrian Army cleared the area and fixated new strongholds.

A military source told al-Ahed News website that the Syrian Army – through new tactics it adopted based on urban war and broadening the patch of surveillance – was able to avoid huge losses.

Source: al-Ahed News, translated by website team

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