Jaish al-Islam claims to break through Ghouta cordon

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Jaish al-Islam forces overran the last of a string of regime checkpoints and fortifications forming the five-kilometer “first line of defense” in front of the regime’s Liwa 39 military base in East Ghouta on Wednesday, putting the rebels only one kilometer away from the base, announced JAI on their website. A night raid by Jaish al-Islam members forced regime fighters to abandon the checkpoint, located in the village of Hosh al-Khayt, and flee to a nearby school and mosque. The Liwa 39 military base consists of a series of military barracks and provides medical services. It is a strategic position from which the regime can shell the rebel-controlled Damascene suburbs of East Ghouta. "Liwa 39 is an essential base in the regime's arsenal, it is a pressure point that the regime uses to target the cities and towns of East Ghouta...in addition to containing chemicals and medical services," Islam Aloush, the official spokesperson for Jaish al-Islam, told Syria Direct earlier this week. Rebels began operations to push through the defense line on Tuesday.