Wed 23 May 2018

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Assad’s Forces Advance in Southern Damascus, Further Regime Troops Killed

Military troops under Assad’s forces at the gate of the Yarmouk Camp – May 6. 2018 (Damascus Now)

Military troops under Assad’s forces at the gate of the Yarmouk Camp – May 6. 2018 (Damascus Now)

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Assad’s forces continued their campaign on Monday to gain control of neighbourhoods in southern Damascus from ISIS.

The “Voice of the Capital” news outlet reported that the Yarmouk camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad area were subject to airstrikes and artillery fire throughout the day on Monday 7 May, while regime forces attempted to make ground advances on several fronts.

One of Assad’s generals told the Russian news network “Sputnik” that the regime’s goal has been to separate areas of the Yarmouk camp from the al-Hajar al-Aswad neighbourhood, with the intention of isolating ISIS fighters. The general said that 500 metres of ground had been gained by the regime toward this end since Sunday.

According to local media sources, regime forces gained control of a block of buildings, including the al-Shaafi’i mosque and the IT Technical secondary school, following clashes with ISIS fighters. The block in question is located in the north-western part of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

The ISIS-affiliated news outlet “Amaaq” Agency claimed on Sunday that the group had killed 30 of the regime’s soldiers, including more senior officers, as they tried to advance in the Yarmouk area. “Amaaq” also claimed that ISIS had destroyed a tank and another military vehicle on the edge of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

The Mukhayim Post outlet reported on Sunday that that 500 regime soldiers, including more senior officers, had died since the beginning of the military campaign against ISIS positions in southern Damascus, which started three weeks ago.

Pro-regime media have also reported the killing of Muhammad Ahmad Hourani from the Lebanese “Hezbollah” organization, as well as the wounding of the war correspondent Wasim Aissa, during ongoing clashes in the Yarmouk camp.

The outlet “Damascus Now” on Sunday published a picture of military reinforcement includes dozens of troops heading towards southern Damascus.

Assad’s forces began their military campaign in southern Damascus on Thursday 19 April, which was shortly followed by an agreement with opposition factions for their evacuation from the towns of Yalda, Bibla, and Beit Sahem to northern Syria.

The outlet “Revolution Spring” has also reported in recent days that hundreds of civilians are trapped inside the Yarmouk camp and the neighbouring areas. Food and medical supplies are lacking, and civilians are not being permitted safe passage from the area by regime forces.

ISIS fighters control around 70% of the Yarmouk camp and are also concentrated in al-Hajar al-Aswad (their main stronghold) and the al-Asali area in the southern al-Qadam neighbourhood. ISIS also controls a section of the nearby al-Tadamun neighbourhood in southern Damascus.

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