IS capture Damascus neighbourhood following fierce regime battles

IS capture Damascus neighbourhood following fierce regime battles
Islamic State group fighters have took advantage of a regime offensive on opposition-held Eastern Ghouta, to launch their own assault on a Damascus neighbourhood.
2 min read
20 March, 2018
A Damascus district is now under IS control [file photo-Getty]

A small Islamic State group [IS] faction in Damascus has launched a deadly offensive on Syrian regime troops, capturing part of a neighbourhood in the capital and killing or injuring dozens of pro-Assad fighters.

The assault came amid the Syrian regime's ferocious offensive on the opposition-held Eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus, which has stretched Bashar al-Assad's forces.

IS militants based in the southern Damascus district of Qadam – next to the Palestinian-majority Yarmouk refugee camp - targeted regime troops in another section of the neighbourhood.

Twenty-four hours of fierce clashes saw IS kill at least 36 pro-regime fighters with dozens more injured, captured or missing, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

"IS took full control of Qadam, and 36 government troops and loyalist fighters have been killed," the monitoring groups told AFP.

Regime troops are being rushed to the area in a bid to re-take the district, the UK-based observer added.

The move came after rebel fighters evacuated districts of Qadam under their control following a deal with the Syrian regime. Fighting between IS and rebels in Qadam had broken out several times during Syria's seven-year war.

IS have lost almost all off their once sprawling territories in Syria following offensives by US-backed Kurdish forces, Turkish-backed rebels, and Iran-Russia-backed regime fighters.