The tide has been turning against the terrorist groups, perversely called “freedom fighters” by western media, in many parts of Syria and now in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus that has served as a base to terrorize the capital and its inhabitants, while at the same time keeping alive the illusion of the existence of an opposition force able to threaten the Official Government. It is feared that the remaining forces could stage a “chemical weapons” attack against civilians in order to provoke massive military retaliation by the U.S. and its allies. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been kept as human shields in the densely populated area for several years now.
After the terrorist groups in Ghouta refused to respect the UNSC ceasefire declared in Feb., the Syrian army relaunched an operation in early March to liberate the area, and have succeeded in dividing Ghouta into three separate sections. The tactical objective was to separate the three main armed groups from one another and squeeze them into smaller areas. Jaish Al-Islam, a Saudi-financed Salafist group that controls the northern part of Eastern Ghouta (Douma), has accepted to participate in
the Astana de-escalation process. In the center of Ghouta (Harasta), the Qatari-financed group Failaq Arrahman has recently formed an alliance with the Al-Qaeda branch, Al-Nusra Front (aka Tahrir Alsham) which controls Harasta, which is the closest area to Damascus center.
By March 17, the trickle of civilians fleeing the three areas through the humanitarian corridors had turned into a flood of thousands of civilians. They are reportedly receiving hot meals at field kitchens, set up by the Russian military at checkpoints,
as well as shelters in evacuated schools. The Syrian government, in cooperation with the UN and International Red Cross, has also allowed aid to reach the terrorist-held areas. It is expected that the operation in Ghouta will end as in Aleppo in 2016, whereby the besieged terrorists if they lay down their arms, will be being allowed safe passage to Idlib, which is still controlled by the Al-Nusra and other groups.
With the liberation of Ghouta, there will be only a few small pockets near Damascus, and an area in the South on the Jordanian-Israeli borders, where the terrorist groups are still active. U.S. forces are also protecting thousands of militants in Al-Tanf
on the Syrian-Jordanian border. One major confrontation point will be Idlib, which is not considered as a major strategic threat to the Syrian government, but still is a regrouping point for all kinds of terrorist groups.
An unresolved, major strategic flashpoint, is U.S. involvement in Syria. The terrorist groups are still capable of staging “chemical attacks” to get the Pentagon to retaliate. The United States also continues to hold large territories in eastern Syria, in
cooperation with the Kurdish Democratic Forces. Both Russian and Syrian officials have warned that Washington intends to carve the country up along ethnic lines. Turkey’s incursion into Afrin together with other Syrian terrorist groups like the Free
Syrian Army would play into such a scenario.
Courtesy to: our friends from E.I.R. STRATEGIC ALERT WEEKLY NEWSLETTER