On 20 January, Syrian state television reported that the country’s army had cleared the Al-Midan area of the capital of armed groups. The forces regained control of most parts of the neighbourhood following heavy clashes with armed gangs. Government forces confiscated ammunition and vehicles equipped with machine guns from the armed opposition.
While some Western agencies, like Reuters, were echoing the Free Syrian Army’s propaganda about an “inexorable” rebel advance inside Damascus, what seemed especially inexorable on Friday 20 July was the destruction of groups who infiltrated into the capital. Syrian TV released a video showing the bodies of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in the area of Qaboun, ensuring that many of them were “terrorists from other Arab countries”.
A report from Syrian television, which showed soldiers in the sub-district of al-Zahra in Al-Midane, said that the army had declared this area safe and asked residents to return home. In this sense, the quick and easy victory of Syrian forces in Damascus obviously has served to reassure the population and Assad’s foreign allies. Apparently, the thousands of rebels who entered the city were unable to seize it, but they were able to create insecurity and make the news.
The soldiers showed their optimism after Al-Midans’s takeover. One of them said that the assassination of the Defense Minister and other officials on Wednesday had given them more courage and that he and his comrades would destroy all those who had damaged their country. Another said: “This land is forbidden to any foreign hand who wants to bring us evil. This hand will be cut without mercy!”. Another soldier exclaimed: “Here it is Syria. Down with Qatar!”.
And another: “We are here to defend our land, our people and our blood. We will sacrifice ourselves for Syria! Here in this land of Al-Midane. Only the Syrian Arab army has the right to be there. This land is ours and it is us who control the ground!”. ...read more