Syrian regime advance sees thousands flee Eastern Ghouta

Syrian regime advance sees thousands flee Eastern Ghouta
Fierce clashes between rebels and regime forces continue in Eastern Ghouta, with 50,000 civilians pouring out of the besieged opposition enclave in search of food and safety.
2 min read
18 March, 2018
Civilians flee the town of Jisreen accompanied by regime soldiers [Getty]
At least 25 militia forces loyal to Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad were killed during clashes with rebels in Eastern Ghouta, while a monitor reported that fierce fighting in the enclave has forced some 50,000 civilians to flee in less than 72 hours.

"The Syrian regime lost around 25 of its fighters during clashes yesterday evening with rebels in the village of al-Rayhan, east of Damascus." Local sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

A spokesman for rebel group Jaish al-Islam Hamza Birqadr told al-Araby al-Jadeed: "Three regime tanks sustained damage on the outskirts of the village, after their four attempts to enter the village at dawn on Sunday were stopped."

Meanwhile fierce clashes broke out in the village of Jisreen, as well as a car bomb targeting Syrian military base in the area, causing several casualties, according to al-Araby al-Jadeed.

Ghouta activists reported that opposition forces launched a surprise attack against regime-held positions in Hammouriyah, which killed and injured an unspecified number of Assad's troops.

Violent clashes in Arbin between Faylaq al-Rahman rebels and regime forces resulted in casualties on both sides.

Despite rebel efforts, regime forces have retaken some 80 percent of Eastern Ghouta since escalating its brutal air and ground offensive last month, carving it up into three ever-smaller pockets held by different rebel groups.

Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured as Bashar al-Assad seems to stop at nothing to regain control of Eastern Ghouta, the last opposition-held enclave near the Syrian capital.
Fierce fighting has provoked an exodus of more than 50,000
civilians in 72 hours [Getty]

Fierce fighting as rebels try and repel regime offensives - along with relentless bombing and shelling campaigns and the use of chemical weapons - has provoked an exodus of more than 50,000 civilians in the past 72-hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Saturday.

People have poured out of areas that have come under regime control using regime-controlled "corridors".

The Britain-based monitor said that the civilian death toll in Eastern Ghouta since the siege escalated on 18 February now stands at 1,401, with over 5,000 injured, although many more bodies are trapped underneath mountains of rubble.

In northwestern Syria meanwhile, more than 200,000 civilians have fled the Kurdish-majority city of Afrin in less than three days as Turkish forces continue their offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia. 

Syria's civil war this week entered its eighth year with world powers unable to stem a complex conflict that has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced at least half the country's population.