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Syrian forces retake Damascus areas from militants

Syrian government forces advance on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo on March 8, 2017 near the town of al-Khafsah. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian government forces have managed to retake control of areas of Damascus hours after they were captured by foreign-backed Takfiri militants on Sunday.

The militants captured the areas after launching an attack overnight through underground tunnels. The Failaq al-Rahman militant group and al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria reportedly took part in the assault.

Syria’s army "regained control of all the points that terrorists" had infiltrated on Sunday, Syrian state TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying on Monday.

Russia's ambassador to Damascus was also quoted as saying that one of the embassy's buildings was hit with a shell during the fighting.

The militants’ overnight advance came after Syrian ground forces and warplanes repelled a multi-pronged attack by the Takfiri terror group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Damascus’ countryside earlier in the day.

The terrorists and their allies started advancing from the Eastern Ghouta District near the capital early Sunday after which government forces engaged them in the suburban Jobar District later in the day.

The military said it killed and injured a number of the Takfiris, destroyed two of the attackers’ explosives-laden vehicles, and stopped them as they tried to make an inroad into the district through underground tunnels.

Jobar separates Eastern Ghouta, which holds large Takfiri concentrations, from Damascus proper.

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham was formerly known as al-Nusra Front before purportedly breaking away from the outfit, which operated as al-Qaeda’s Syria branch.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

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