Syria: Assad Declares Damascus Fully ‘Clear’ of Islamic State

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian military and police forces fly their national flags on a damaged building and hold a picture of Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood, southern Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Syrian state TV said Tuesday …

Forces loyal to dictator Bashar al-Assad this week deemed Damascus and its countryside “completely clear” of Sunni jihadists, including the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), an alleged victory that puts the territory in and around the Syrian regime’s seat of power under its full control for the first time since the civil war erupted in 2011.

The Syrian military acknowledged the contribution of its allies — Iran, Russia, and Tehran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah— in fully retaking Damascus and its countryside from other jihadists, primarily ISIS.

Assad’s military accomplishment further shrunk the presence of the already anemic ISIS.

In a statement carried by the state-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA),  the Assad military declared Damascus and its countryside “entirely safe and invincible areas,” adding that the victory “affirms that the Syrian army is more resolved than ever to hunt down the remaining terrorism no matter how hard its sponsors strive to prolong its longevity.”

Assad’s accomplishment also consolidated the dictator’s already strong grip over Syria, asserting the position of the regime and its allies as the warring party with the most territory under its control.

Citing the Assad military, SANA reports:

The General Command indicated that the military operations have left big numbers of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists dead, adding up to establishing full control over the areas [in and around Damascus] of al-Hajar al-Aswad and al-Yarouk Camp, which was preceded by cleansing Yelda, Babila and Beit Sehem in southern Damascus of terrorists.

The new military win means that the entire towns of Western and Eastern Ghouta are now completely clear of the scourge of takfiri terrorism in all its forms and designations, with all its gatherings in these areas wiped out, said the Command’s statement.

Assad and his allies consider all Syrian opposition forces to be “takfiri” terrorists, meaning false Muslims (apostates) who carry out atrocities that defame Islam.

The regime has been capitalizing on its triumph. SANA noted that a Damascus citizen, Ahmed al-Shehabi, indicated “that this great news gives hope that each and every inch of the Syrian territory will be liberated from terrorism.”

In recent months, ISIS has been pushed to ever-shrinking pockets of land in Syria, near the country’s border with Iraq and Israel.

The U.S.-led coalition and local forces have dealt ISIS a devastating blow, decimating the group’s former caliphate and reducing its ability to carry out attacks.

American and Iraqi officials have conceded that the terrorist group remains a threat. The group is still able to terrorize the Iraqi and Syrian population during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan, though to a lesser extent when compared to last year.