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Fierce fighting in Damascus threatens Syria ceasefire

Following their temporary breakthrough yesterday, the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis in eastern Damascus where thrown back, allowing the Syrian government to claim this morning that all positions captured by the Jihadis in Damascus had been recaptured by the Syrian army.

Losses however in the fighting yesterday were very heavy for both sides.  A source in the Syrian army is reported to have told the Al-Masdar news agency that 72 Syrian soldiers were killed in the fighting yesterday, most of them during the Jihadis’ initial assault, which used a tunnel bomb and two explosive filled trucks driven by suicide bombers.   The same source estimated Jihadi losses during the fighting as between 80 and 100 fighters.  That makes yesterday’s battle the bloodiest Syria has experienced this year.

Despite their failure yesterday, the Jihadis have not given up, and launched a further attack in the same area this morning.  Latest reports suggest that it too is being pushed back after initial gains.

However ominously one of the groups that has joined the Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire is reported to be joining the fighting in Damascus on the Jihadi side.  If that sets a trend then it could endanger the whole ceasefire, which would make Moscow very concerned.

Latest reports suggest that the Syrian military backed by the full force of the Russian air force is readying for a counter-attack.  In the meantime the phone lines between Moscow and Ankara will be busy.

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