SHAFAQNA – The military sources in Syria announced that the army is planning to take control of several key areas in Eastern Ghouta.
The Syrian troops are preparing to liberate the town of Kafar Shams in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside, informed military sources said.
A military source told FNA that heavy clashes are already underway between the army and militants in the surrounding areas of Kafar Shams town.
Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian Army recaptured three towns from the terrorists in Southern Syria, as part of their wide-scale offensive that started last week.
The towns of Dair Maker, Talet al-Arus, and Talet Sarjeh in the Southern province of Daraa fell to the government troops.
The Syrian troops have unleashed a wide-scale offensive against radical militant groups in the Southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra since last Sunday.
Meantime, estimates in a number of testimonies by American intelligence officials showed that some 20,000 foreign fighters, including at least 3,400 westerners, have joined the ISIL and are now fighting on the frontline in Iraq and Syria.
At least 3,400 ISIL fighters coming from the western world, as many as 150 Americans may have reached the battlefield, officials told the House Homeland Security Committee in testimonies prepared for delivery.
The chief of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, said the number of foreign fighters joining the terrorists in Syria and Iraq is growing at an unprecedented rate in comparison to foreign militants who went to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia in the past 20 years. The overall estimate of 20,000 foreigners in the ISIL group has been revised from 19,000, according to Rasmussen’s prepared testimony.
Also, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Representative Michael McCaul announced that some 5,000 members of the ISIL and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups are westerners who can travel to the United States without a visa.
“Up to 5,000 of these fighters are westerners, many of whom are able to travel into the United States without obtaining a visa,” McCaul said during a hearing on preventing terror travel and homegrown terrorism.
“More than 150 American citizens have attempted to or succeeded in getting to the battlefield and we know some have already returned to our shores,” he added.
McCaul expressed his concern about the US ability to combat violent Takfiri extremism not just abroad but “also here at home”.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.