On March 6, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their allies advanced on positions of Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) in the areas of Harasta, Hawsh Ashari, Bayt Siwwa in the Eastern Ghouta region. Clashes also continued in the area of Rayhan. On March 5, government forces entered it, but was not able to supress the militants’ resistance there.
In total, government troops had already established control over about 36% of the area controlled by militants before the start of the operation.
While the SAA and its allies made a major part of its gains in the eastern part of Eastern Ghouta, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members and their counterparts also faced a significant pressure in the district of Harasta. According to pro-government sources, the SAA is now aiming to cut the district off from the areas of Duma and Madera.
The recent developments clearly show that the Syrian military backed by Russia and Iran is aiming to repeat the operation, which led to the liberation of Aleppo city in 2016. Government forces will divide the militant-held area into separated parts and then purge militants remaining there or force them to accept a “green-bus decision” – to evacuate to the militant-held part of the province of Idlib without heay weapons.
Government forces in the liberated town of al-Shayfouniya:
An UN aid convoy entered Eastern Ghouta on March 5: