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Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah Close-in on Al-Zabadani

On Monday, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah continued their joint ground assault on the resort-city of Al-Zabadani in the Western Mountains of Syria.

Located on the Syrian-Lebanese border, the city of Al-Zabadani sits at an elevation of nearly 1,100 {3,600ft} meters above sea level; it is located in an area that is predominately mountainous and very difficult to maneuver through for armored vehicles.

As a result of this rugged terrain, reports have surfaced of perilous combat and high amounts of casualties for both sides {numbers of causalities for both sides are still speculation, although government sources are claiming over 40 opposition militants have been killed since Sunday}.

The populous of Al-Zabadani, which was reportedly 26,000 (2006 Census), had been largely displaced as a result of the battles between the Syrian Armed Forces and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra.”

Now, it appears the Syrian Armed Forces are intent on fully securing this town, as the latter has refused any ceasefire and reconciliation agreements with the militant group “Liwaa Suqour Al-Zabadani.” (Al-Zabadani Hawks Brigade). Progressing at the Shalaah Checkpoint and making headway throughout the night, the joint Hezbollah and SAA forces found themselves approaching the city center – they are now within 200 meters of the city-center.

Continuing the assault from the east, rumors persisted of further attacks to the north of the city, along with relentless bombardments by Hezbollah artillery/rocketry (some of which was recently introduced for this battle}.

While Jaish Al-Haramoun, another group emulating the success of Jaish Al-Fatah continues to hold onto the city, rumors are circulating of mass retreats of some 200 rebel militants that allegedly fled to the Madaya Barrens.

With clashes persisting at Al-Zabadani, especially around the Barada Mosque and the Al-Huda Mosque; it’s highly likely that the SAA and Hezbollah forces will seize the city in the coming days.

Opposition activists have put forth the accusation of indiscriminate bombardments from the Lebanese side of the border; specifically, from the Lebanese Armed Forces.

The Zabadani campaign also comes a week before the secretary general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, gives his speech on Al-Quds Day

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