2018-03-12 07:57 GMT+8
The Syrian army on Sunday effectively split the rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus into three sectors, laying a siege on a major rebel bastion, according to the media department of the Syrian army.
Following days of intense battles, the Syrian army tightened its noose on the rebels inside Eastern Ghouta. It was the only method for Syrian forces advancing from the east to reach the army units in the city of Harasta in the western part of Ghouta.
Eastern Ghouta was then sliced into three sectors, the city of Harasta in the west, the Douma district and the major rebel bastion in the northern part of Eastern Ghouta. They were then all besieged from all directions.
Syrian civilians carry their belongings as they flee following government bombardment on Kafr Batna, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on March 10, 2018. /VCG Photo
In the south, several towns and areas are currently surrounded.
The Syrian army has captured 52 percent of Eastern Ghouta in recent days, as part of an ongoing wide-scale offensive to dislodge the rebels from that key area on the eastern rim of Damascus.
Eastern Ghouta, a 105-square-km agricultural region consisting of several towns and farmlands, poses the last threat to the capital due to its proximity to government-controlled neighborhoods east of Damascus and ongoing mortar attacks that target residential areas in the capital.
People hold a warning leaflet dropped by plane entitled “Keep yourself and your family alert” in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta,in Damascus, Syria March 11, 2018. /VCG Photo
Four major rebel groups are currently positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and the Levant Liberation Committee, known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening situation for 400,000 people in that region, where activists said around 1,000 people have been killed since late last month by the heavy bombardment and military showdown in many parts of Eastern Ghouta.