More than 9,200 locals from the Eastern Ghouta region have joined the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and several pro-government armed groups since the liberation of the region on April 14, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on May 30.
The SOHR said that most of the locals who joined the SAA are from the districts of Duma, Hammuriyah, Irbin, Jisreen, Kafr Batna, Hazzah, Misraba, Saqba and Madeira. The source added that a part of these locals are former fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) who had defected from their groups during or even before the SAA military operation in the Eastern Ghouta region.
The evacuation agreement between Jaysh al-Islam and Damascus gave 18-42 y.o. men there a six-month period to reconcile and join the SAA, if they have not completed their mandatory service. However, it appears that the majority of locals had joined the SAA and pro-government forces before the end of this period.
Earlier this month, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Damascus Voice said that more than 4,000 locals of the Eastern Ghouta region joined the SAA. This indicates that the number of locals who opted to join the SAA doubled during the last three weeks.
This drastic increase in the number of its personnel allowed the SAA to demobilize soldiers for the first time since the beginning of the Syrian war. Around 10,000 SAA soldiers will be discharged from military services on June 1, according to Syrian pro-government sources.