The areas of control after the counterattack by Syrian forces that retook Barzeh and cut the militants’ link between Jobar and Qaboun.
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Under pressure from fellow insurgents and escalating airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, Syria's Al-Qaeda branch is stepping up violence against President Bashar Assad's strongholds with precise, high-profile attacks, including a surprising breach of the capital in the most serious infiltration in years. Sunday's attack, in which insurgents used tunnels they control in northeastern Damascus neighborhoods to hit government positions, appears to have caught the Syrian military off guard. Sunday's incursion, however, was the most serious since 2012, when rebels captured several Damascus neighborhoods before being crushed by government forces.It appeared to be an attempt by Al-Qaeda to mount sophisticated attacks against high-value targets to portray itself as the main force capable of fighting the government.The HTS, the latest spinoff from Syria's Al-Qaeda branch, has claimed several other high-profile attacks in government-controlled areas recently.Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria is vowing more such attacks, saying that force is the only way to deal with Assad's government.
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