A long column of buses of the “green express train” with the militants and their relatives leaves the city building and leaves for the desert. Assault troops with the support of armored vehicles methodically suppress the last foci of resistance. Here and there in the middle of the ruins instead of the black banners ISIS white flags appear. The Syrian Arab army is completing the liberation of the Muhayyam al-Yarmuk district, the last stronghold of terrorists in Damascus. The capital of the country for the first time since 2012 passes under the full control of government troops. This means that the militants of the pseudo-Caliphate and the armed opposition no longer have leverage against President Bashar Assad.
The camp of the Palestinian refugees Yarmuk in the same-named southern region of Damascus was controlled by Jebhat an-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army (SSA) from the end of 2012. The militants quickly prepared the seized territory for defense and used it as a springboard for numerous sorties against government troops. From here the mortars of terrorists aimed to cover the entire center of the capital with fire – it’s only eight kilometers to the north. In addition, the militants took control of the neighboring districts of Yarmuk, in particular Al-Qadam, through which the M5 and the railway pass, linking the capital with the southern regions of the country and the city of Dar’a near the Syrian-Jordanian border. In some sections of these important transport arteries, extremists repeatedly organized terrorist acts. In April 2015, militants of the “Islamic state” came to Yarmuk and entered into conflict with the groups that had settled here. In the internecine conflict, the Palestinians living in the region-the team of Liv Al-Asif, who supported the SSA, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, allied to government troops, also took part. It was not possible to disperse this “Crow Slobodka” for three years, since most of the combat-ready units and formations of the Syrian Arab Army led offensive in other parts of the country. And Damascus continued to be under siege.
In March and April, the Syrian generals, after their victory in Deir ez Zor, took seriously the East Gutu – the suburbs of the capital, which have been kept by militants since 2012. In early April, government troops occupied Jobar, the most western settlement of Guta, controlled by terrorists. And the entire defense of extremists in East Guta followed. The Syrian Arab army cut the area into sectors and cleared without fuss. East Damascus is safe, it’s time to think about its southern outskirts.
The last onslaught
On April 19, 2018, the Syrian government presented an ultimatum to the terrorists of the IG * in Yarmuk. Extremists rejected it, and government troops launched an offensive in the areas of Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Sheikh Zazi and Yarmuk. As a result of almost continuous fire, terrorists lost about 150 people dead and wounded in a few days. The carefully built up front of Yarmuk’s defense was breached, and on May 1 the extremists began to surrender.
The fighting lasted almost three weeks. The militants were clamped in the center of Yarmuk, surrounded on all sides. Continuous fight forced the IS terrorists to agree to the conditions of the legitimate hosts of Damascus, and on May 20 dozens of buses arrived in Yarmuk that took the rebels to Badia in the eastern part of Syria and to Idlib province, where the “green expresses” from Aleppo, Deir ez- Zora and a number of other cities. The seven-year battle for Damascus culminated in the complete victory of the Syrian Arab Army.
The next most likely direction of the offensive by government troops is the Dar’a city of the governorate of the same name in south-west Syria. As reported by the Syrian media, the army units are already moving along the recently defeated highway from militants M5. Earlier, military aviation dropped several thousand leaflets in the militant-controlled cities of the province of Daile, Museirib and Tafas. Terrorists were offered to lay down their arms and accept the terms of the peace agreement. In case of refusal the Syrian military will have to start a large-scale operation. The ultimate goal of the offensive is the border crossing point Nasib on the border with Jordan. Simultaneously, pressure will be resumed on the most problematic province of Syria, Idlib, where up to 30,000 armed guerrillas of the ISIS and several other terrorist organizations may be located. Last Tuesday, Russian aviation struck a series of blows at positions of extremists in the vicinity of the settlements of Sheikh Ali, Arikh and Al-Mastuma. According to media reports, the raid was conducted in response to the recent attempt by militants to attack the airbase of Khmeimim with the help of homemade drone. Recall that the air defense system defending the base, in time to detect and destroy the threat.
In general, the situation in Idlib remains unsettled. As early as the middle of March, Russian media reported that a bickering took place between the Khayat Tahrir Al-Sham faction (includes the Jebhat An-Nusra) and the Djebhat Tahrir as-Suriyah.
This confrontation has not abated and today – the militants of both organizations share spheres of influence, sparing no people and ammunition. Last week, Russia’s special representative for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, expressed hope for Turkey’s help in putting things in order in Idlib: “As for the first zone of de-escalation towards Idlib, we very much look forward to the assistance of our Turkish counterparts who committed themselves to ensuring stability and tranquility in this district», – he noted.
“The most important thing is to prevent possible new confrontational actions between the opposition and the uncompromising militants who are still in Idlib. Nearly 300 people have returned to their homes in the Syrian East Ghouta and Homs for a day, the head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria, Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, “The restoration of the destroyed social infrastructure and the establishment of a peaceful life facilitates the return of people to their former places of residence,” he said. So, for the past day 177 people returned to Homs province, 107 to East Ghouta, “Yevtushenko said. In addition, according to him, 66 thousand 139 civilians have returned to their homes in East Ghouta. The Russian military from the Reconciliation Center the hostile parties in Syria together with the charity fund of Akhmad Kadyrov gave humanitarian aid in the suburb of Damascus – Dahat al-Assad, only 10 tons of products were distributed, Zahid Kasumov, a center spokesman, told journalists. “Today, in the settlement of Dakhat al-Assad, nitarnaya action together with the foundation Ahmad Kadyrov. In total, the population will be given about 10 tons of products: rice, oil, halva, sugar. Also, goods of personal hygiene were distributed, “Kasumov said. According to him, halva was distributed for the first time in humanitarian aid. “The locals like it very much,” added Kasumov, “Russia is the only country from which assistance can be expected. The only good country. And not the other way around, like America, for example, “the inhabitant of the city of Amir Nasuri said in an interview with journalists. In April, with the assistance of the Center for Reconciliation, the territories of East Ghouta and Eastern Kalyamun in the suburban zone of Damascus, as well as the southern quarters of the Syrian capital, were liberated from militants.