Warplanes shell Douma and Ein Tarma for the first time after the implementation of the Eastern Ghouta Truce and violations continue to take place
Violent explosions rocked this morning, the 23rd of July 2017, the Eastern Ghouta in which a truce became effective yesterday afternoon, ceasing the fire on all its fronts. The explosions turned out to be caused by a new violation committed by the regime forces as the warplanes carried out 4 raids on areas in Ein Tarma town, located at the western outskirts of the Eastern Ghouta and two more raids on areas at the center and at the outskirts of Douma city. The SOHR also documented the firing of a shell by the regime forces on the outskirts of Jesrin town. Those bombardments and raids caused material damages only. No casualties were reported. These new violations followed other documented by the SOHR yesterday. It was documented yesterday that the regime forces launched four missiles, believed to be ground-to-ground, on areas in Jobar neighborhood, east of Damascus, and that they targeted the outskirts of Ein Tarma town with ten mortar shells, causing material damages but no casualties were reported. The SOHR also 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 and the firing of a shell that targeted the outskirts of Harasta city, but both incidents caused material damages only. 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 several violations in the form of aerial and artillery shelling, 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 Barda in the northwestern part of Rif Dimashq.