A hundred and thirty days of valiance and sacrifices leading to victory in al-Mleiha

Al-Mleiha, Damascus Countryside, SANA – “Victory is nice,” followed by a smile, were the words uttered by the field commander accompanying us to the town of-Mleiha in Damascus Countryside.

Quiet and silence have replaced the sound of terrorists’ gunfire which had haunted the town for months, a town that was a bustling residential area surrounded by farms and wooded lots where families used to come to have picnics. The terrorists’ bullets were finally silenced at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army.

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“The battle of al-Mleiha is a military victory, but it also has much significance in terms of morale,” this is what the field commander told us, asserting that this victory has greatly boosted the morale of the Syrian Arab Army’s personnel, which will help them in the upcoming battles to rid the Eastern Ghouta area from all traces of terrorists.

 

Al-Mleiha is considered an access point into the Eastern Ghouta, which is why the field commander says the victory there is a first step that will lead to more victories and to restoring security and stability to all the towns and villages in the area.

The field commander told us that when the decision to begin the battle for al-Mleiha was made, a plan was devised to enter it through three points: the southeastern farms along the direction of Deir al-Asafir and Zebdin, the town itself along the direction of the Air Defense Directorate, and north along the direction of Tameco Pharmaceuticals Company.

He said that the operations were affected by many difficulties, including the terrain in the direction of Ein Tarma valley and the thick foliage and trees that posed an obstacle for regular operations, which is why nighttime infiltration ops were employed.

After assuming control of large portions of the town and encircling the terrorist groups trapped inside it, the terrorists grew desperate to maintain this foothold which to them was the linchpin of all their dreams and delusions of entering the capital, Damascus.

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“Because of this, terrorist organizations rallied all their forces including Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Islam Brigade, al-Islam Army, al-Rahman Legion, and the Islamic Union of Ajnad al-Cham, in addition to bringing in professional international terrorists to entrench themselves in the town,” the field commander explained, saying that throughout the 130 days of the operation, the terrorists employed all sorts of tactics including suicide bombings in an attempt to break free of the perimeter set around them.

He went on to note that this only served to increase the number of special operations carried out by the Syrian Arab Army which adapted and changed its defense tactics, edging closer to the final chapter of the operation in which personnel trained for urban combat and specifically for fighting in al-Mleha were deployed, adding that this operation shifted from being a regular operation to a series of special operations within no more than 45 days, with some operations including infiltrating the very tunnels used by terrorists.

Informed military sources state that, 48 hours before the victory was announced, the army command made the decision to finish it swiftly, so the army advanced from within the town towards the buildings in which the terrorists were holed up, all while encircling them from the outer perimeter and closing in. The terrorists had no chance, and they suffered a sound defeat as a part of them fled while the rest were killed.

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It should be noted that the terrorist organizations had been holding a number of families hostage in al-Mleiha, using them as human shields to try and pressure the Syrian Arab Army into delaying the military operation, but the army managed to evacuate the civilians into nearby towns safely.

The field commander said that today, al-Mleiha is under the full control of the Syrian Arab Army and is secured completely along with a perimeter extending two kilometers in each direction, with operations currently focusing on the east, north, and south. He asserted that there’s no threat of terrorists entering the town again from nearby town through farms.

“The defense line established by the army will make the terrorists think twice about any attempt to infiltrate it, unless they decide to commit suicide, which is what will happen even before they can glimpse the outskirts of al-Mleiha,” he affirmed.

The field commander said that the terrorist organizations in the area were scattered across several areas following the battle of al-Mleiha, and that they can’t even hold nearby towns as they claim, adding that even the terrorists’ front in Jobar beyond al-Mleiha has become extremely weak, noting that many disputes and disagreements erupted among the terrorist organizations following their defeat in al-Mleiha.

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Victory in al-Mleiha wasn’t made in the 48 hours before it was announced; the members of the Syrian Arab Army were assured of victory a month before that, as confirmed by the commander of al-Mleiha battle when we accompanied him at that time on one of his operations. Back then, he told us “faith in the determination of the army’s heroes is what enabled us to breach the defenses of the terrorists.”

If any lesson can be learned from al-Mleiha, it is that with enough determination and persistence, goals and victories can be achieved, and that this one victory is the prelude for the terrorists’ complete and utter defeat throughout the Eastern Ghouta area, an area which the terrorists had believed to be their impregnable stronghold.

Hazem Sabbagh

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