The Syrian Army continued to capture more territories as the battle has entered a sensitive stage after militants were expelled from almost 40% of the Eastern Ghouta region in Damascus countryside.
The army men drove terrorists out of al-Ash’ari farms West of the town of Hawsh al-Ash’ari in their night operation.
Field sources ensured that the town of Hawsh al-Ash’ari itself will be soon freed.
The army troops also seized the farmland area near the militant-held towns of Mesraba and Beit Sawa.
The sources further said that recent advances have enabled the army to liberate three strategic regions in Eastern Ghouta.
The sources added that the Syrian Army will most likely start a new phase of its military operation on Masraba, Beit Sawa and Hawsh Al-Ashari in order to exert maximum tactical pressure on militant groups.
Also in the past 24 hours, Syria’s SANA news agency reported citing the Syrian Foreign Ministry’s letter to the UN Secretary General that the Syrian armed forces continue their operation against terrorists in Eastern Ghouta in line with the international law.
In the letter, the Syrian government reaffirms commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 2401 and expresses “its readiness to cooperate with positive international initiatives which serve the interests of the Syrian people, especially those which contribute to stopping the shedding of Syrian blood”, SANA reported.
“Military operations carried out by the Syrian army and armed forces to eliminate terrorists in the Eastern Ghouta area are lawful in terms of the Syrian State’s right to self-defense and fighting terrorism and in accordance with the international humanitarian law,” the agency said.
Damascus urges the UN Security Council to exert pressure on states that support terrorist groups in order to make them abide by the terms of the ceasefire and stop holding civilians hostage.
“Syrian Arab Army helicopters throw leaflets over the villages and towns of Ghouta to inform civilians willing to leave the area about the safe corridor designated for evacuating civilians through al-Wafideen Camp, meantime, the armed terrorist groups, for the eighth day in a row, continued to target with shells the humanitarian corridor set up by the Syrian State and prevent civilians from reaching it,” it added.
According to the agency, the document also notes that “no condemnation has been made by the US, Britain and France which called for adopting the resolution no. 2401 and no statement condemning the terrorists’ violations and shelling of Damascus city and its surrounding which caused the martyrdom and the injury of hundreds of innocent civilians.”
It reported that this illustrates that by pressing for the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2401, certain states sought to stop the Syrian military offensive on terrorists in Eastern Ghouta.
Also on Wednesday, terrorists groups have killed tens of civilians in continued rocket and mortar attacks on Damascus city in the last ten days, Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko said on Wednesday, adding that the militants are still preventing civilians’ exit from Eastern Ghouta.
“Over the past 10 days, militants have fired 272 mortar shells and rockets from Eastern Ghouta areas on the residential neighborhoods of the Syrian capital. A total of 13 people have been killed, 135 wounded, including three children,” Yevtushenko said.
Yevtushenko added that 10 people were killed and 49 wounded when militants shelled the Tishrin hospital in Syria’s Dahiyat Al-Assad on March 5.
So far, the Russian center’s chief reported, only 17 people have managed to leave Eastern Ghouta through the Muhayam Al-Wafedin humanitarian corridor.
Also in the past 24 hours, Syria’s flags were seen hoisted inside a major militant-held town in Eastern Ghouta region as army troops are increasingly expanding control in the terrorist bastion.
Local sources said that Syria’s flag has been hoisted by people in the terrorist-heled settlements of Sabqa and Hamouriyeh in Eastern Ghouta.
The sources said that the people, whose region has been under several years of terrorists’ occupation, are preparing to welcome the Syrian Army in their villages, settlements and towns.
Civilians in Mesraba settlement have protested massively against terrorists, the sources said, adding that the Damascus government has started negotiating with local leaders to hand over their regions to the army troops.
Also on Wednesday, people in Eastern Ghouta disclosed on Wednesday that the terrorists have been plundering the humanitarian aid convoys that were delivered to the war-torn region earlier in the week.
The supply of humanitarian aid to the Syrian town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta by a UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy was almost jeopardized by the two-hour talks between the convoy members and head of the local military and political councils, the sources said.
“After the convoy entered Douma, the talks between the convoy staff and leaders of the local military and political councils took place in one of the local mosques, being recorded on video, and the record was later used by the Jeish al-Islam militants for propaganda purposes,” a source said.
“At the same time, due to the two-hour delay, the delivery of humanitarian aid and medicine to civilians was in fact under the threat of disruption,” the source added.
The source emphasized that the humanitarian agencies were able to personally verify that militants forcibly kept civilians in the area as a “human shield”.
“The residents asked the UN staff and convoy members to facilitate their evacuation from this zone, told that the militants are taking away their aid, forbidding them from leaving their homes,” he stated.
Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian army troops managed to further advance against terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and are about to lay siege on the towns of Douma and Mesraba, military sources said.
The sources said that the army units managed to prevail over the terrorists’ positions and deploy near the town of Douma, Jeish al-Islam’s center in Eastern Ghouta.
Also, the army men, deployed in the Northwestern part of Eastern Ghouta, stormed terrorists’ strongholds near the town of Mesraba from the Southern and Northern parts of al-Ab Farms.
In the meantime, other units of the army move towards Mesraba from Beit Sawa, local sources said.
The army has gained fire-control over Mesraba and Beit Sawa.
According to another military source, the army is expected to launch a large-scale attack on the two towns in the coming hours, as they mount more pressure on the remaining militants in the region.
Once the army frees Mesraba and Beit Sawa it will advance against militants in the depth of Eastern Ghouta to join their comrades that are advancing in Eastern Ghouta from al-Nashaboyeh settlement direction.
Also on Wednesday, the Syrian military has opened a humanitarian corridor in Eastern Ghouta for both civilians and militants who are allowed to leave the area together with their families, Spokesman for the Russian Reconciliation for Syria Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin said.
Zolotukhin said that the army’s safe corridor near al-Wafedeen camp can be used by both civilians and militants to leave the terrorist-held regions in Eastern Ghouta for safer regions that are under the Syrian army’s control.
He also expressed hope that the decrease in shelling the corridor may indicate that some militants are mulling to exit the combat zone, though the situation in the area of the humanitarian corridor still remains tense.
Yet, the spokesman stressed that the shelling of the Eastern Ghouta continues, and urged the terrorist leaders to cease hostilities, adhere to the truce and ensure the release of civilians or to leave Eastern Ghouta.
Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian Army troops resumed a fresh round of attacks on terrorists on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, targeting the remaining localities near the militant-held town of Douma in Damascus province, field sources said.
The sources said that the army men engaged in a tough battle to take control over the key settlement of al-Reihan and managed to capture a main part of al-Reihan on Tuesday night after hours of a daily-based truce ended in Eastern Ghouta.
The sources further said that the army men are on the verge of imposing full control over the remaining part of the settlement that is still under terrorists’ control to pave the ground for easier access to regions near the key town of Douma.
In the meantime, the militant-affiliated sources disclosed that the army’s heavy fire has caused a number of militants to seek a safe path to leave al-Reihan, adding that al-Reihan is actually a lost land.
Also, a military source said that terrorists are resisting to save the positions in al-Reihan, adding that the army men are planning to free the settlement before the arrival of fresh militants.
The army men have also liberated several farms East of al-Reihan.
The Syrian Army troops launched a heavy attack on terrorists’ positions in the early hours of Tuesday and imposed control over a main part of a key settlement in Eastern Ghouta.
Over 50 civilians and more that 220 terrorists have been killed in 14 days of infighting between the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at or the Levant Liberation Board) and Syria’s Tahrir Front in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, a Syrian daily reported on Wednesday.
The Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported that the infighting mainly occurred between Tahrir al-Sham and Syria’s Tahrir Front East of the town of Ma’arat al-Nu’aman, specially near Tal Manas and Ma’ar al-Shomarin regions.
It went on to say that both warring sides used heavy weapons endangering the lives of the residents in the region.
In the meantime, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a sum of 223 terrorists have been killed in recent clashed between Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at and Syria’s Tahrir Front, adding that 132 of them were Al-Nusra members, while 91 others were the gunmen of Nouralddeen al-Zinki and Ahrar al-Sham that have formed a new collation named Syria’s Tahrir Front.
SOHR further said that a large number of the injured militants are in critical health conditions so the total number of the dead may rise.
It said that a number of militants have also been held captive in the clashes.
Local sources said that the terrorist groups have used thermal missiles for the first time and their artillery attacks, meantime, have killed 50 civilians.
Also in the past 24 hours, the Turkish army troops and Ankara-backed militants managed to push the Kurdish fighters back from more positions within the framework of Operation Olive Branch, paving the ground for taking control over the town of Afrin, local sources said.
The Turkish-backed militants, led by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), took control of three towns in Afrin region, as Ankara has intensified Operation Olive Branch in Northwestern Aleppo, the sources said.
The sources further said that the army men and the FSA gunmen captured the towns of Sheran, Sherkan and Kharabat Sherenli after heavy fighting with the Kurds.
The Operation Room for Olive Branch said Sheran is the Eastern gate to the town of Afrin and the Turkish forces’ control over Sheran has opened the door to the Ankara forces to move towards Afrin.
Also the General Staff of the Turkish Army reported on Wednesday that more than 2,900 Kurdish gunmen have been killed or held captive by the Turkish troops in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo since January.
The army said that a sum of 2,940 Kurdish fighters have been killed or captured by the Turkish troops and allied militants within the framework of Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region.
Also Arab media outlets said on Wednesday that a sum of 1,700 Kurdish gunmen of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have left their positions in Raqqa, Deir Ezzur and Hasaka for Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo to stand against the Turkish incursion.
The Arabic-language Elam al-Harbi reported that the SDF has called 1,700 gunmen from the battlefields against ISIL and has sent them to Afrin to face the Turkish troops and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army militants operating under Operation Olive Branch.
More fighters are expected to head towards Afrin region in the coming days, as Kurds prepare for a major battle against the Turkey and Ankara-backed militants.
People in a town in Idlib province poured into the streets and protested against the terrorist groups that have been engaged in fierce clashes in recent weeks, local sources in the Southern part of the province reported on Wednesday.
The sources said that people in the town of Kafr Nubl in Southern Idlib took to the streets and called for expulsion of both Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and Syria’s Tahrir Front from their region.
Terrorists in Kafr Nubl opened fire at protestors and injured four civilians.
Heavy infighting between Tahrir al-Sham and Syria’s Tahrir Front has caused heavy losses on civilians in Idlib and Aleppo provinces in recent weeks.
The Syrian Army has forwarded several fresh units to al-Ghaab Plain in Northwestern Hama to restore more security to the region that has been the scene of heavy offensives on government forces in recent days, field reports said on Wednesday.
The sources said that the terrorist groups of Ansar al-Islam, al-Turkistani Party and Al-Nusra Front have been attacking the army positions in al-Ghaab Plain for several days now.
The terrorist groups stormed the army in Sheir al-Sahab, al-Bahsa and the Special Agricultural Zone to occupy the regions, but the army men repelled their attack, inflicting major losses on the terrorists, they added.
The terrorist groups suffered heavy casualties and retreated towards Northeastern Lattakia.
The source further said that several army units have been sent to al-Ghaab Plain in Northwestern Hama to beat back terrorists and restore security to the region.