On the situation in East Ghouta.
From February 25-26, 2018 in East Ghouta, an operation was initiated to squeeze out the greenery from the eastern suburbs of Damascus and take them under the control of government forces. The main striking forces in this operation are the units of the Tigers and the Republican Guard. The offensive began along the entire line of contact from the east and northeast. Initially it was planned to quickly approach the city building, and first take it into a tight ring, thus forcing the green to leave Guta in the direction of Idlib, which is so familiar to them.
With the onset of the offensive, the Syrians encountered a well-fortified line of defense. The first is that the backbone of spirits can be absolutely any structure. And they move in trenches, of which there is a large number, remaining imperceptible to the observers of the Syrians. It is possible to detect them only from the air. Second – the spirits presented a rather unpleasant surprise. They blocked the channels of rivers and canals, which there are quite a lot and dammed all the neighborhood, making it impossible to pass the technique of the Syrians outside the highway. If the infantry as a whole is still able to pass through these very fields to get out to the building, then for the tanks and bekh this path has so far been ruled out. It remains only the option of the highway, but this option is for the spirits. So this surprise with the channels quite significantly deprived the Syrians of the opportunity for maneuver.
The third is a large number of underground tunnels networks in populated areas. Very often the Syrians are faced with the situation when the enemy has these tunnels they found out devils crawling out of their rear. It remains only to guess what in six years will be dug out of the sewers by sanitation crews. According to the information already available, they have accumulated a lot, and in two tiers. They are especially strong in digging tunnels, as seen fully in Jobar. So this factor will also wreck a lot of nerves and will cause a real headache to the Syrian military.
So, by this time the Syrians had managed to take n. Maida, Nawabiya, Kharazma, a high-rise near the n. Haune Dura. The population itself today is in the gray zone. The Syrians have not yet secured themselves in it because of the threat of flanking strikes. The Ash Shafuniya populated several times in the hands, today, it seems, remains for the spirits.
According to Rihan, there was an attempt to storm the night, but so far unsuccessful.
For several days now, a ceasefire regime has been included and a humanitarian corridor has been provided to leave the area for both civilians and spirits who wish to leave Gutu. Remembering a similar situation in Aleppo, I hardly believe that in the near future the spirits will leave themselves and will allow it to be made civil.
In the meantime, the confrontation in East Guta has taken a positional character. Both sides of the conflict are monitoring the enemy. Spirits on the front hold a small number of observers and machine gunners. Their main forces are on the outskirts of urban areas, so that if necessary, quickly go to the first line.
The total number of spirits under the gun in this area is estimated at about 10,000 head. Given the number of green, the presence of tunnels, swampiness, the subsequent dense building of urban blocks, the release of Guta is not an easy matter.
Photos by Oleg Blokhin and Vassim Issa, East Ghouta, March 2018.