Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:24AM
The photo shows the militant-held parts of the Jobar district, in the northeastern suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus, following an airstrike on March 20, 2017. (By AFP)
The photo shows the militant-held parts of the Jobar district, in the northeastern suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus, following an airstrike on March 20, 2017. (By AFP)

The Syrian army is engaged in a military operation to repel an infiltration attempt by Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorists and other militants in a northeastern suburb of the capital city, Damascus, state media say.

On Tuesday, the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, re-entered a major road junction in the Jobar district leading into the heart of Damascus while the army was reportedly bombing their positions.

Jobar separates Eastern Ghouta, which holds large concentrations of Takfiri terrorists, from Damascus.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fierce clashes between army forces and militants in the strategic area.

“There was a big blast at dawn, most likely due to a car bomb attack by the rebels against a regime position between the districts of Jobar and Qabun,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the pro-militant monitoring group.

Clashes continue in the militant-held parts of the Jobar district, in northeastern suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on March 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, Wael Alwan, a spokesman for the Failaq al-Rahman militant group, also announced the launch of an assault in the Abassiyin district, claiming that its members have made a number of gains against army troops.

“At 5.00 a.m. (0300 GMT) we launched the new offensive and we restored all the points we withdrew from on Monday. We have fire control over the Abassiyin garages and began storming it,” Alwan said.

On Monday, the Syrian army said it had recaptured all the areas in northeastern Damascus lost after a surprise militant attack a day earlier.

The intensity of the Syrian army’s counterattack forced the militants to withdraw from most of the areas they captured that day.

Militants have been trying for years to break into the heart of Damascus, but they have failed to do so amid stiff resistance from government forces.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.