After almost 3 years of non-stop fighting, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and militias aligned with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have agreed to an open-ended ceasefire in order to allow civilian aid and reconciliation committees into the dilapidated town of ‘Arbeen, further dissipating the violence in the East Ghouta of Rif Dimashq.

The decision for the ceasefire was due to the battle of ‘Arbeen being a stalemate between the SAA and FSA, with neither side gaining any ground over the course of a year. ‘Arbeen is one of the last densely populated areas in the East Ghouta, despite the fierce clashes that engulfed this town for the duration of this violent conflict. The Syrian Arab Army transported hundreds of sick civilians to local hospitals as Red Crescent workers entered the area with necessary aid.

In Jobar, the firefights between the SAA’s 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard (Harss Al-Jamhouri) and Jaysh Al-Islam (Army of Islam) have recently intensified since the New Year, resulting in numerous areas experiencing heavy fighting. The fiercest firefights were reported at the Al-Manaasher Roundabout, Parliament Square, Teachers Tower, and the Old Cemetery.

Yesterday, “Abu ‘Ammaar Al-Darayya” from “Al-Itahaad Al-Islaami Al-Ajnaad Al-Shaam” – a militia loyal to Jaysh Al-Islam in Jobar – was killed during a Syrian Arab Air Force bombing campaign in the western part of the city. Al-Darayya was the leader of this contingent and a prominent militant wanted by the Syrian Security Forces on charges of terrorism.

At Yarmouk Camp, Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA) – in coordination with the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) – confronted a group of militants from the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra) attempting to infiltrate into 30th Street for the 3rd time in the last 2 weeks. This recent infiltration attempt has broken another ceasefire agreement they shared with the loyalist forces.

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The SAA’s 4th Mechanized Division continued its offensive at Zibdeen Farms, targeting the remaining Jaysh Al-Islam strongholds in the eastern sector of this besieged village. According to a military source, over 70 percent of this area is under the 4th Mechanized Division’s control; however, the remaining militants are spread across the vast array of farms, utilizing the rough terrain to their advantage.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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