Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Operation Damascus Steel:Syrian Army's Liberation of E Ghouta Almost Complete

 Last month, the Syrian Army and allied ground forces launched operation Damascus Steel to liberate the East Ghouta region from hardline Islamist militants who have occupied the area since 2012.
Upon completion of a transfer deal recently agreed between militants and the Syrian government, the Syrian Army will be in control of around 85 percent of the total territory of the initial pocket.
Militants from Erbeen, Zamalka, and other areas within this enclave are in the process of being transferred to the northwestern province of Idlib – one of the last remaining militant bastions in the country.

Negotiations to arrange a similar deal for the city of Douma reportedly broke down after militants from Jaish al-Islam (the army of Islam) refused to leave the area. The Syrian Army is likely to launch an offensive to retake the city in the coming days, to either entirely seize it, or at least pressure the militants to accept a transfer deal.
The deals have been negotiated by the Syrian Ministry for Reconciliation Affairs and the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria.

The ousting of militants from East Ghouta will massively improve the security of Syria’s capital, as militants have used the pocket as a launchpad to fire mortars and improvised rockets at government-held parts of the city, including residential areas, schools, cafes, restaurants and governmental buildings.

Additionally, securing and stabilizing the capital is a major step forward in attracting foreign investment to Syria to aid the post-war economic recovery.
Once East Ghouta is entirely liberated, the Syrian Army is likely to take aim at other militant-held areas in Damascus, such as the Yarmouk refugee camp.
Recent posts covering the Ghouta operation:

 From earlier today:

Putin & Erdogan Discuss Next Week's Syrian Summit


  1. Jaish al Islam are wahabi/Saudi-backed, while Idlib is mostly salafist/Muslim Brotherhood (Qatar, Turkey).
    Wahabists in Idlib are Hayat Tahir al Sham (HTS former Al Nusra aka Al Qaeda), but they don't share power.
    Plus Idlib is ravaged by an intercine war between HTS and a coalition of Turkey-backed factions. The once over-powerful HTS is now confronted by winning and closely supported Turkey-backed fighters (RuAF is disturbing HTS in Idlib an east Aleppo, too).
    Short story: Jaish al Islam are not welcome in Idlib, they asked to be transferred to Daraa.
    But Daraa is (probable) SAA's next target after South Damascus. And an important one, as Daraa is the door to Jordan both militarily and commercially. Syria badly needs control on that border-crossing. US and Israel need Daraa NOT to fall back in Assad's hands.
    SAA is not going to further complicate a complicated situation by reinforcing Daraa with thousands of hardline, battle-hardened militants.

    That's why parleys failed.

    1. thanks for the update brdlip- I'd seen a report that SAA was most probably heading to Daraa. been trying to keep an eye on the situation as much as possible