IS Tries to Push Into New Territory in Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) -
In this picture released August 30, 2015, by the Rased News Network, Islamic State fighters walk on a street in the Qadam neighborhood of Damascus, Syria.  (Rased News Network, via AP)
In this picture released August 30, 2015, by the Rased News Network, Islamic State fighters walk on a street in the Qadam neighborhood of Damascus, Syria. (Rased News Network, via AP)

Islamic State terrorists on Sunday pushed into a large district in southern Damascus, clashing with rival fighters just a few miles from the center of the Syrian capital, the terrorist group and Syrian activists said.

More than two dozen fighters were killed in the clashes on the edges of the Qadam neighborhood, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has an extensive network of activists on the ground.

The pro-IS Aamaq News Agency reported that IS seized half of Qadam. The Observatory’s Rami Abdurrahman said that IS was holding two streets and that fighting was continuing.

IS supporters posted propaganda pictures claiming to show IS advancing in the narrow streets of Qadam. The authenticity of the images could not be confirmed independently.

IS has emerged as one of the most powerful forces in the battle to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. The terrorist group has seized about one-third of Syria and neighboring Iraq over the past year.

Armed Islamic factions fighting forces loyal to Assad control parts of the Syrian capital and large parts of the city’s suburbs. Earlier this year, IS terrorists entered the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, east of Qadam, and control large parts of it.