BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – In late February 2018, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) began their final offensive in the East Ghouta region of Damascus, targeting several towns and villages under the control of Jaysh Al-Islam and Faylaq Al-Rahman (FSA faction).
However, this offensive is simply the last phase of a much bigger operation that began in late 2015, when the Syrian Army began their first major push in the East Ghouta region since the Russian military first deployed to the country.
The operation was initially led by the Republican Guard (104th, 105th, 106th brigades), 4th Mechanized Division, Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), Arab Nationalist Guard, and National Defense Forces (NDF).
These pro-government units would kick off the offensive by capturing several areas in the southeastern part of the East Ghouta, including the strategic Marj Al-Sultan Airbase.
Over the course of two years, the Syrian Army would steadily advance in the eastern part of the East Ghouta, taking town after town until they began a major push in the western suburbs.
The push in the western suburbs of the East Ghouta began last year, when their 4th Division and Republican Guard forces managed to force the Islamist rebels to surrender Qaboun, Tishreen, and Barzeh.
While their attempts to capture ‘Ayn Tarma and Jobar ultimately failed, these other advances paved the way for this latest advance that has resulted in the capture of half the East Ghouta region that was under militant control.
Special thanks to @PetoLucem (Twitter handle) for the maps