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by Chris Thomson

Less than 24 hours after initially storming the town of Deir Khabiyeh, soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 1st, 4th, and 7th divisions have now imposed full control over the town. Deir Khabiyeh is located in the West Ghouta, southwest of Damascus.

Prior to its capture, Deir Khabiyeh witnessed heavy bombardment by Russian and Syrian warplanes. The town has been under Islamist control since May 2016 when rebel fightersoverran SAA positions there.

Deir Khabiyeh was formerly controlled by joint contingents of Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front); however, fighters from these jihadist groups have withdrawn to the nearby Islamist-held town of Khan ash-Shaykh as of this morning.

Effectively, the rebel-held West Ghouta enclave is gradually diminishing. Government forces have ringed the last 6 towns and villages still controlled by rebel factions in the region, thus cutting them off from receiving new weapons, ammunitions and supplies.

Next up, SAA troops – spearheaded by the 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division – are expected to target Marranah, a small village east of Deir Khabiyeh, which is left increasingly isolated after the fall of Deir Khabiyeh.