Regime retakes rebel-held areas in Damascus
- Author: Phil Peters Mar 22, 2017,
Mar 22, 2017, 0:42
The government dispatched some of its elite forces to halt the offensive, which began shortly before sunrise with two suicide bombers from an al-Qaida-linked group.
"We launched the new offensive and we restored all the points we withdrew from on Monday".
The assault was led by Islamist groups including Ahrar al-Sham and the recently formed umbrella jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
Military experts said the rebels are trying to make a morale gain, and to release pressure on their comrades in other areas.
Damascus Today, a Facebook group run by activists, reported government airstrikes in the area where the clashes took place.
Sunday's rebel assault was their most important incursion inside Damascus in years.
The fighting has focused around the Abassiyin area of the northeastern Jobar district, some 2 km east of the Old City walls, at a major road junction leading into the capital.
Jobar separates Eastern Ghouta, which holds large Takfiri concentrations, from Damascus proper.
The attack began early in the day "with two vehicle bombs and several suicide attackers" in the Jobar district, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
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The Observatory said rebel shells hit several nearby districts in Damascus, including Bab Touma, Rukn al-Din and the Abbasiyin area.
In the north of the country, meanwhile, a Kurdish militia said the Russian military is to train Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group.
But with Sunday's attack, Abdel Rahman said, "rebels have shifted from a defensive position in Jobar to an offensive one".
Tens of thousands of fighters, dissidents, and their family members in long-besieged areas have accepted exile to the country's rebel-held northwest, in what opposition figures have termed "forced displacement".
Control of Jobar is divided between the government and rebel factions.
The Syrian army forces inflicted heavy casualties on al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front terrorists, including their foreign commanders, in their operations to free the Northern parts of Jobar region in Damascus.
Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with protests against Assad's rule but has evolved over the years into a complex civil war.
Several rounds of peace talks so far have failed to bring about a solution to Syria's war, which entered its seventh year last week.
"Damascus under attack and rain of projectiles on the Syrian capital" were some of the headlines reported from overseas and "recreating" with particular morbidity, the story of the events to promote terror and insecurity.