Douma under regime domination | Russians are the de facto ruler, while Syrian regime seems satisfied with collecting levies
Rif Dimashq province: More than three years and a half ago, Syrian regime and Russian forces have imposed control on Douma in Rif Dimashq, just before regime forces regained control of the entire eastern Ghouta. According to SOHR sources, a large number of residents of Douma, who were in regime-controlled areas during the factions’ control of the region, returned to their area. Nearly 200,000 people have returned to their areas in Douma city, bringing the total population of the city to nearly 400,000 people, approximately the half of the city’s population recorded before the “Syrian revolution”.
With Russian forces having the largest share of influence in Douma city, the former major stronghold of Jaysh al-Islam, the security situation in the city is relatively better than the rest areas of eastern Ghouta, as the Russian conduct periodical patrols in the city, while regime soldiers stationed on checkpoints seems satisfied with collecting levies. Accordingly, the security situation in the city is relatively stable, except for some arrests against individuals accused of “funding terrorism” or “possession of weapons”.
Meanwhile, a large number of young men, suspects wanted by regime security service, move in the city comfortably, as they are sure that they will not be arrested as long as the Russians are present in the city, especially since the Russians are attempting to show that their presence is the main reason for the stable situation in the city.
On the other hand, SOHR activists have reported that the city gets no funds by the governorate of Rif Dimashq specified for the rehabilitation of schools and public facilities which have been destroyed due to the military operations by Russian and regime forces. The Syrian regime has forced the city’s merchants to rehabilitate and rebuild the city. The latest structure rehabilitated with funds of the merchants was the recruitment branch. The city therefore suffers from almost-complete lack of government service, while the residents rely now only on the service and facilities that have been available during the control of the factions and on generators to get electricity.
The fees of renting houses and shops in Douma city, however, are much cheaper than the capital, Damascus, which only a few kilometres away from Douma. In Douma city, the rental fees range from 50,000 to 80,000 SYL, while the rental fees of a house in Damascus exceed 400,000 SYL.