On March 12, the US accused Syria, Russia and Iran of violating a ceasefire regime in the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus, because they had been involved in operation against terrorists in the region. Furthermore, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley actually threatened that the US will strike Syrian government forces if they continue their operation in the area.
Nikki Haley, who gets all her intel on #EastGhouta from Al-Qaeda tied #WhiteHelmets & jihadist activists, calls for a new UN resolution that protects the terror groups who broke the ceasefire by shelling civilians in Damascus & threatens to take military action against #Syria pic.twitter.com/o6ZTET4MRn
— Walid (@walid970721) 13 March 2018
On March 13, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces, the Republican Guard and other pro-government units, supported by Russia and Iran, continued advancing in Eastern Ghouta. Following the liberation of Alkhoms, Madiara, Satra and Aftaris, government troops tightened the siege on the area of Harasta (north of the Armoured Vehicles Base) and advanced on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and their allies at Saqba and Jisreen.
On the same day, Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov said that the country will act in response if lives of the Russian servicemen are endangered, including by strikes on Syria.
“There are many Russian advisers, representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and [Russian] servicemen in Damascus and at Syrian defense facilities,” he said adding that Russian forces will response by cetrain measures to both “missiles” and “lauchers” posing a threat to Russian servicemembers.
Earlier, both Syria and Russia warned that militants had been preparing to stage a chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta to lay the blame on the Syrian government of conducting it.
The chief of the Russian general staff added that militants had already sent “civilians” that would play the role of “victims” of chemical attacks.
Meanwhile, Russian Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Essen, armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, passed the Bosphorus en route to eastern Mediterranean.
Separately, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in Syria said that about 100 civilians had been evacuated from the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta through a checkpoint in the settlement of al-Wafedin. This checkpoint serves as a humanitarian corridor for civilians that want to leave this area.
However, Jaish al-Islam, which is the main militant group that controls Douma, rejected reports about negotiations between it and the Damascus government.
— Strategic News (@StrategicNews1) 12 March 2018
Clashes in Eastern Ghouta: