Syria Captures Several Rebel Towns Near Damascus

Amid Infighting, Jaish al-Islam Pulls Troops Out of Certain Towns

by Jason Ditz, May 19, 2016

Just two days after a round of infighting between rebel factions, the Syrian military is moving aggressively into Eastern Ghouta, capturing several towns in the area just southeast of the capital city of Damascus.

The fighting earlier in the week between Jaish al-Islam and the rival Faylaq al-Rahman rebel coalition appears to have played a role in today’s events, with Jaish al-Islam reportedly withdrawing 800 fighters from the towns on the front-lines just ahead of the military’s push.

This forced other rebels in the area to scramble to try to get their own fighters in place around the area, which had been contested between the rebels before, and they were unable to get sufficient numbers into the area in time to hold it from the new offensive.

There were no details on the death toll of today’s fighting from either side. Hezbollah reported in their own media that they were involved, aiding the army against the rebels as they have so often nationwide during the civil war.

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