On January 3, an officer of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) told South Front that the SAA leadership had appointed General Juma’a al-Jasim as the commander of the SAA operations in Harasta district east of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The source added that Gen al-Jasim will lead the upcoming counter-attack of the SAA against the Ahrar al-Sham Movement in Harasta. The counter-attack is aimed at breaking the Ahrar a-Sham siege on some sections of the Armored Vehicles base south of Harasta, restoring all the positions that the SAA had lost around the base and even capturing Harasta if the Ahrar al-Sham defenese collapses there.
The 4th Division, the Qalamun Shield Forces, the Special Mission Forces (SMF) and several units of the Republican Guard will all be under the command of Gen. al-Jasim, according to the SAA officer.
The officer told South Front that these forces usually work separately under the command of their own officers, a situation that led to the fail of many SAA attacks on Jobar district in 2017.
Gen. al-Jasim had led many successful operations in harsh battle conditions before, including the defensive operations around the T4 airbase against ISIS in December, 2017. Later in January, 2017 Gen. al-Jasim led a rapid counter attack and broke ISIS siege on the al-Seen airbase in the eastern Qalamun region. This victory allowed the SAA to capture most of the Damascus desert later.
Syrian pro-government sources also reported that the 42nd Brigade of the 4th Division had redeployed all of its units from the Western Ghouta region to the area west of Harasta district. The 42nd Brigade cleared wide areas around Damascus from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) including Khan Alsheh, Qaboun and Barda valley in 2016 and 2017. The brigade is commanded by a well-known field officer, Colonel Ghaith Dallah.