The forces of the Syrian Army have claimed to have taken parts of a Damascus suburb away from Syrian rebels.
Syrian state-run television has reported the Army has taken a major suburb on the east side of the city, driving out the rebels.
The opposition Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says rebels remain in control of parts of the Qaboun neighborhood, which along with Barzeh and Jobar, formed an arc from the northern to the eastern edge of Damascus.
The Syrian media report says the military recaptured Qaboun Saturday, as the evacuation of adjacent besieged rebel-held neighborhoods was underway.
If confirmed, this increases the government’s security belt around the capital and strips the opposition of another prized territory in the area. Rebels had held onto a number of neighborhoods on the edge of Damascus since the early days of the uprising, representing the most threatening opposition presence near the government’s seat of power.
The evacuation of hundreds of residents of the Barzeh and Tishreen neighborhoods began last week. They were bused out to a rebel-held province in the north following an agreement with the government, emulating previous successful evacuations in other besieged areas that were also criticized as forced displacement.
Meanwhile, Syrian Kurdish rebels have reportedly moved on the de-facto capital of the Islamic state, in Raqqa, capturing a cotton factory that is 2.5 miles, (4 kilometers) north of the city. Kurdish forces say that their plan is to move on Raqqa this summer.
They earlier had captured a strategic dam 25 miles, (40 kilometers) west of the city. There are reports that the markets in Raqqa have closed, giving speculation that the fighting is getting increasingly close to the city.
President Trump has vowed to aid the Kurdish rebels by furnishing them heavy weapons, which has angered the Turks who consider the Kurds terrorists.
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