On January 3, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captured the village of Ayn Zuriqa north of the the town of al-Nashabiyah in the southern part of the Eastern Ghouta region, according to the Syrian oppositions news outlet Enab Baladi. The SAA was reportedly able to cut off the important road that links al-Nashabiyah with the rest of the militant-held part of Eastern Ghouta.
From its side, Jaysh al-Islam denied that the SAA had captured Ayn Zuriqa. However, later the Islamist group released a video of its fighters attacking the SAA in Ayn Zuriqa. The video confirms that at least a part of the village is under the control of the SAA.
The ongoing SAA attack in the southern part of Eastern Ghouta is only aimed at pressuring Jaysh al-Islam, according to observers. The attack will likely end once the SAA repels an attack of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement on the Armored Vehicles base in the northern part of Eastern Ghouta.
The Ahrar al-Sham Movement continued its military operation against the SAA in Harasta district north of the Armored Vehicles base on January 3. Syrian pro-government sources reported that the Ahrar al-Sham Movement attacked a positions of the Syrian Special Mission Forces (SMF) in Harasta. However, SMF fighters repelled the attack and killed two fighters of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement, according to the sources.
Moreover, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria announced that 25 fighters and three field commanders of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement were killed by the SAA during the clashes around the Armored Vehicles base in the last few days.
Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes on positions of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement in the districts of Harasta and Irbin. Syrian pro-government activists said that over fifteen militants were killed as a result of the strikes.
The SAA is now preparing to launch its counter attack against the Ahrar al-Sham Movement in order to restore all the positions it had lost around the Armored Vehicles base. Observers believe that if the counter attack succeeds, the SAA might launch a military operation to capture the district of Harasta.