Fighters of the Free Syrian Army have made big gains against regime forces in eastern Damascus in a surprise, coordinated offensive they launched early on Sunday. The FSA groups managed to break the siege regime forces and their allies have imposed on the districts of Qaboun and Barzah since late 2012.
The two districts have been subjected to relentless aerial and artillery bombardment by regime forces who have been trying to advance on the besieged districts in order to force an evacuation deal on civilian trapped inside. Regime forces have employed the same tactic to empty many areas across Syria out of their indigenous population, including most recently in the Damascus suburbs and Alwaer district in Homs.
A total of 1,200 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime forces and their allies in the areas covered by the ceasefire agreement which entered its 80th day on Sunday.
According to figures compiled by the Syrian Coalition’s Media Department, regime forces and their allies have breached the truce in over 3,000 occasions since it went into force in December 29, 2016. Russian forces and the Hezbollah militias were responsible for 200 and 45 breaches respectively.
The majority of breaches took place in Damascus and its countryside, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Idlib and Dara’a.
Despite the truce being in place, the Assad regime continues with policies aimed at changing the demographic landscape in key areas across Syria, forcing evacuation deals on the residents of the Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus, the town of Khan Alsheeh south of Damascus, and Alwaer district in Homs.
(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 20.03.2017)