Over 20 pro-Assad forces killed in clashes with rebels near Damascus

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Pro-Assad military forces deployed in Damascus suburb. File photo

ARA News

DAMASCUS – At least 22 soldiers from the Syrian regime’s army forces have been killed on Friday subsequent to clashes with Islamist rebels on several fronts in Syria’s southern province of Damascus, local media sources reported. 

This comes as the pro-regime forces seek to advance in the southern suburbs of Damascus [Eastern Ghouta] at the expense of Islamist rebel groups. 

Speaking to ARA News in Damascus, media activist Mohammed Mousa said pro-Assad regime forces on Friday tried to advance on several fronts in the Eastern Ghouta–supported by an air cover and artillery shelling. 

In the meantime, Syrian air force carried out dozens of airstrikes on the Hosh al-Admel area in addition to the towns of Zibdeen and Bala southeastern the Ghouta region, targeting rebel positions, according to the source.

“Subsequent to the airstrikes, pro-Assad forces prepared to storm the central city of Zibdeen and Bala district,” Mousa reported. 

Rebel fighters were able to foil the pro-regime offensive “through well-prepared ambushes” in the area, which led to the death of dozens of Syrian troops, according to a rebel spokesman, who spoke to ARA News on condition of anonymity.

“At least 22 soldiers from the regime’s army were killed during the operation, and dozens more wounded,” the source reported, adding: “Brigadier Ahmad al-Mohammad from [the pro-Assad] Republican Guards has been killed in the operation.” 

“The rebel fighters were able to destroy a tank [type T-72], and eventually forced the regime’s army forces to retreat,” the spokesman told ARA News. 

In the town of Zibdeen, Islamist rebels were able to repel the regime’s army attack, killing five soldiers as well as destroying an armored vehicle, pro-opposition sources reported.

The southern region of Eastern Ghouta has been witnessing battles between pro-regime forces and opposition fighters for more than five months. The Syrian army tries to advance in the region in a bid to impose a blockade on the southern towns of Eastern Ghouta, according to military sources. 

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi 

Source: ARA News

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