The Army of Islam, a main Islamic Front unit, announced on Sunday it is taking control of the orchards neighboring Mleiha, a town near Damascus.
The Islamic Army said in statement posted online that its fighters had killed 25 soldiers in the latest battles.
For months, Bashar Assad’s forces, backed by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah has been battling to recapture Mleiha, a strategic rebel bastion.
Mleiha has been under siege for more than a year, and under near-constant bombardment for more than a month.
While the army remains in control of Damascus, rebels still hold a number of towns and villages on the outskirts, despite a suffocating blockade, frequent air strikes and shelling.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer