Syrian Arab Army troops continued their advance along the eastern side of the Eastern Ghouta pocket. They captured the Battalion 274 base, which was a famous base of the Army of Islam featured in their propaganda videos. This wide-ranging advance also cut off several roads the Army of Islam was using before.
This advance indicates a farm-first strategy on the part of the Syrian Army, which obviously intends to deprive the rebels of farmland to feed its fighters. It would rather capture these more open areas first (despite them being heavily defended by moats and trench networks) then engage in large-scale city warfare from the start. The direction of the advance also indicates that the Syrian Army might be seeking to link up with its forces west of Madyara, thus splitting the rebel pocket in half. Such a move, although offering the great reward of wreaking havoc in rebel lines, would require capturing Mesraba or Madyara, which would be a costly battle.
By Peter Bucci (@Peter_Bucci)