On January 20, ISIS fighters launched a rapid attack on positions of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies south of the Syrian capital, Damascus and captured several key buildings in al-Zain neighborhood between the Yarmouk refugee camp and Yalda district, according to the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq. The media outlet added that ISIS fighters killed three members of HTS and its allies.
From its side, Syrian opposition sources revealed that most of al-Zain is now under control of ISIS as HTS and its allies failed to hold their positions inside it. The strategic neighborhood will allow ISIS fighters to launch attacks inside Yalda district located only 2km west of the Damascus airport highway.
HTS and several armed groups linked to the Palestinian Hamas Movement refused to withdraw from the districts of Aqraba, Beit Sahm, Yalda and Babila on December 2017. In response, hundreds of locals who are facing the threat of the nearby ISIS protested against HTS on January 5.
HTS and its allies are incapable of stopping ISIS advance and unwilling to hand over their positions to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). So, ISIS may expand further in southern Damascus in the future.