Anticipation for deploying Russian Police at the contact lines in the Eastern Ghouta after 5 months of the first Russian failure to achieve “reconciliation” there
The regime forces continue to breach the truce in the Eastern Ghouta, which came into effect this afternoon, Saturday 22nd of July 2017. The SOHR documented the firing of 6 shells by the regime forces on areas at the outskirts of Bayt Nayem town, located in Al-Marj area in the Eastern Ghouta, causing material damages. The SOHR has also documented since the beginning of the truce, the firing of a shell that targeted the outskirts of Harasta city, causing material damages. The SOHR also documented the first violation of the truce when three artillery shells were fired by the regime forces on areas in Douma city, causing the injury of five. Meanwhile, calm prevails in all areas of clashes east of the capital and in the Eastern Ghouta in fulfilment of the ceasefire stipulated by the truce which was agreed upon when renewing the “de-escalation zones” agreement that came into effect on the 6th of May 2017. The renewed agreement included the Eastern Ghouta in Rif Dimashq except the areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham. The agreement stipulates the full observance of a ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid to the area, and getting the injured and sick out of the Eastern Ghouta to receive treatment.
Amid such calm, which was interrupted by 3 violations with 10 shells that left 5 injured and caused material damages, the SOHR learned from reliable sources that it is expected to deploy Russian military police forces to the contact lines between the factions operating in the Eastern Ghouta and the regime forces and their allied militiamen, in order to ensure full observance of the ceasefire. Meanwhile, sources confirmed that most of the Russian soldiers deployed are Russian Muslims who were brought successively by the Russian forces earlier. This step comes as part of an agreement similar to the Russian-American-Jordanian agreement in the southern Syria, which includes the Provinces of Daraa, Al-Quneitra and Al-Suwaidaa and which came into force on the 9th of July 2017.
The SOHR published early February 2017 news about a Russian attempt to deploy its forces to contact lines in the Eastern Ghouta and east of Damascus after opening a crossing from Al-Wafedin Camp area for the civilians to cross to the regime-controlled areas in Rif Dimashq and Damascus through Al-Wafedin Camp area which is adjacent to Douma city. This came then as a step towards opening other crossings through other areas that connect the Eastern Ghouta, which is besieged by the regime forces, with the regime-controlled areas in the Eastern Ghouta then to Damascus. Such crossings allow civilians to pass through and exit villages and towns in the Eastern Ghouta. Russian then tried to sponsor a settlement and reconciliation process that would include Douma city and other areas in the Eastern Ghouta in addition to preventing the regime forces from entering the areas that remained under the control of the factions in the Eastern Ghouta, whom the Russians tried to convince previously to join the reconciliation process after settling the situation and reaching a reconciliation in Daria, Khan Al-Shih, Muadamiyat Al-Sham, the western part of Rif Dimashq, Al-Tal city, Qudsaya and Al-Hameh towns in Damascus, and Wadi Barada in the northwestern part of Rif Dimashq.