Syrian Arab Army (SAA) gained momentum in the southern East Ghouta rebel-held pocket, thus capturing half of Bala al-Kadimah (Old Bala) and establishing fire control the eastern section of the village. The red lines above roughly indicate today’s advances, which not surprisingly are headed directly south of the Air Defence Base which was captured by government forces 3 days ago.
According to an Al-Masdar source inside Damascus, the offensive was carried out by joint forces of the SAA’s Republican Guard and a special unit of Hezbollah, the Al-Aodah Battalion. During today’s battle, 6 militants from Jabhat al-Nusra were killed while 10 were injured, yet recovered by jihadist forces. Meanwhile, 3 injuries were reported on the government side. Nevertheless, government troops say they have been unable to enter eastern Bala al-Kadimah just yet due to the village being littered with mines.
However, they have captured the road directly south of Bala al-Kadimah, thus cutting off rebels inside Zebdeen from reaching their comrades at Bazinah. Long-term, rebels now face the threatening scenario of losing the southern East Ghouta pocket, since this area has been cut off from the northern East Ghouta pocket. If this area is lost, rebels in Damascus will face huge difficulties in reversing the battlefield momentum. In fact, since 2013, Islamist rebels have lost more than half the territory under their control inside the Syrian capital itself.