On March 22, about 40 buses arrived the area of Harasta in the Damascus subrub of Eastern Ghouta. The buses will be used to implement an evacuation agrement between the Syrian government and Ahrar al-Sham. On March 21, it was reported that about 1,500 members of Ahrar al-Sham and 6,000 civilians [mostly members of the militants’ families] will be evacauted from Harasta to the militant-held part of Idlib province.
The evacuation of militants from Harasta will allow government forces to re-establish control over this important urban area and to further divide the militant-held pockets in the southern and northern parts of Eastern Ghouta.
Reports appeared that 13 Syrian troops, which had been captured by militants, were also released on March 22.
Meanwhile, an evacuation of civilians resumed in the Jaish al-Islam-held area of Douma in the northern part of Eastern Ghouta. Reports also circulate that Jaish al-Islam and the Syrian government with Russian help are currently involved in negotiations on terms of the militants surrender. If the agreement is reached, the evacuation agrement in Douma will follow the evacuation of militants from Harasta.
Civilians are leaving Eastern Ghouta:
Clashes are ongoing in the town of Hazzah in the southern part of Eastern Ghouta. The town had been controlled by Faylaq al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda).
Government troops entered Hazzah on March 21 and liberated a major part of the town, but have not been able to secure it so far.
On March 22, 8,000 civilians in Eastern Ghouta received hot food from specialists of Russia’s Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria.
“Today the Russian servicemen delivered hot food to 8,000 citizens of Eastern Ghouta, and 2,500 food parcels were handed out,” a spokesman for the center Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin said.
The Center is now focused on evacuating civilians, providing medical assistance, delivering hot food and distributing essentials, like sleeping bags, among people at the checkpoints and camps.
Over 87,000 people have left the militant-held part of Eastern Ghouta since the implementation of the daily humantiarian pause there.