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April 27, 2018
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Damascus could next eye Daraa, the cradle of revoltThe capture of Eastern Ghouta is a significant milestone for Syria’s regime.

The capture of Eastern Ghouta is a significant milestone for Syria’s regime and paves the way for government troops to shift south to where the seven-year uprising first began: Daraa.

After losing swathes of territory to rebels, Syria’s Army has regained control of more than 55% of the country with crucial help from its ally Russia, according to analyst Fabrice Balanche.

“The liberation of Eastern Ghouta means lifting the security and military threat posed to Damascus,” said Bassam Abou Abdallah, who heads the Damascus Centre for Strategic Studies.

“After Ghouta, it’s likely the Syrian government will head south — the current situation in Daraa must be finished off,” he said.

The regime said it had retaken Eastern Ghouta on Saturday after a nearly two-month assault that killed more than 1,700 civilians.

The only risk

With Ghouta now taken care of, the only risk posed to Damascus stems from a few southern districts still held by the Islamic State group, including the Yarmuk Palestinian camp.

Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the government, said the army will seek to “finish off” those districts, but analysts believe the regime’s real interest lies elsewhere.