This week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has launched an operation against ISIS to in the Damascus desert east of the Syrian capital. The goal of the operation is to secure the capital from the desert side following the advance of Free Syrian Army factions.

Special forces of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence and armoured forces of the Republican Guard participate in the operation. Special forces units were transported by helicopters to the Marj al-Sultan airbase in eastern Damascus.

On April 26, the SAA advanced in eastern Damascus towards the Al-Sham desert around the Tishreen electricity station capturing 6 kilometers along 20km long front. The government advance took place amid heay clashes with ISIS militants. Pro-government sources report heavy losses in the ISIS ranks.

There were also unconfirmed reports of the dismantling of three Israeli spy and jamming stations by the SAA in the area. The stations used to monitor the Damascus International Airport and the Marj al-Sultan Airport.

The Syrian Air Force destroyed fortifications and vehicles of ISIS in the Dakwa hill in the Damascus desert. Syrian attack helicopters provided a close air support to the Special Forces during their advance in the region.

The operations of the SAA in southern Palmyra, eastern Qalamoun and the Damascus desert are aimed at securing the capital Damascus from the US-backed Free Syrina Army factions operating in the area.

Other goals are to prevent breaking of the siege imposed on the militants of Jaish al-Islam in eastern Qalamoun and to set up better defense lines east of Damascus.

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