Syria Daily: Pro-Assad Offensive Breaks Through in East Ghouta

Destruction in Ein Tarma, East Ghouta, Syria

Intensive Russian bombing enables advance in eastern part of opposition area


UPDATE 1655 GMT: A UN humanitarian convoy will not enter East Ghouta as planned on Sunday.

“The convoy to east Ghouta is not able to proceed today,” a UN official said.

The UN said on Friday that it had preliminary agreement from the Assad regime, which has blocked all but two small deliveries to East Ghouta since last summer.

UPDATE 1645 GMT: White Helmets rescuers retrieve bodies of children from streets in Douma after pro-Assad bombardment of civilian neighborhoods:

After a tightening five-year siege and months of escalating attacks, with thousands of civilian casualties, a pro-Assad ground offensive has broken through in East Ghouta near Syria’s capital Damascus.

Supported by regime and Russian airstrikes defying both a “de-escalation zone” and a UN resolution for a ceasefire, the offensive had been met by stiff rebel resistance. But on Saturday pro-Assad outlets claimed — and rebels acknowledged — a significant advance on the eastern side of the territory. This included control of the Hawsh al-Dawahra area and capture of towns such as an-Nashabiyah, Hazrama, Otaya, and Shafouniyeh, which had been targeted by a claimed chlorine attack as well as conventional strikes in the past three weeks.

Overnight gains were enabled by intense Russian bombing. Despite rebel claims that 150 pro-Assad troops were killed, others said the situation was critical.

“Save Us, Please”

The pro-Assad attacks surged in early February and again from February 18, with almost 1,000 civilians killed and more than 4,000 wounded. The UN unanimously passed a Security Council resolution for a 30-day ceasefire on February 24, but only after Russia watered it down so it would not be implemented, let alone enforced.

See Mass Killings and A Humanitarian Crisis: Welcome to Syria’s East Ghouta

The opposition has held East Ghouta since 2012, with the Assad regime soon imposing a siege. Aided by rebel in-fighting and a tightening of the blockade, the regime and its allies took about half of the area in spring 2017; however, more than 350,000 people remained in opposition towns such as Douma.

The leading rebel factions in East Ghouta are Jaish al-Islam and Failaq al-Rahman. Russia and the Assad regime are justifying their assault by falsely claiming that “Jabhat al-Nusra”, formerly linked to Al Qa’eda, has a significant presence.

Sisters Noor and Alaa, who have highlighted East Ghouta’s situation on social media, report:

Turkish-Rebel Force Continues Advance in Kurdish Canton of Afrin

The offensive by Turkey and the Free Syrian Army has taken more territory in the Kurdish canton of Afrin, a day after claiming the town of Raju and surrounding the town of Jinderes.

Latest reports indicate the Turkish-FSA force, which launched its ground offensive on January 20, has taken Sheikh Hadid and the village of Baflioun, only 12 km (7.5 miles) from the boundary of Afrin city.

After slow but steady progress in its offensive in the first six weeks, the Turkish-rebel advance has quickened in recent days, with the Kurdish militia YPG struggling amid the cutting of its supply lines.

The offensive has secured all of northwest Syria along the Turkish border as well as capturing the high ground leading to the eventual takeover of Raju and imminent move into Jinderes.

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    • You mean killing 200 innocent civilians a day by bombing their homes, when their only crime is to demand their human rights, is “good news”? Post-colonial theory begets moral collapse.

      • Nothing to gloat here. The political union between democracies is the strongest of the links and there is no way the Russians or Turks or other 2-bit dictators can make totalitarian inroads in Europe. That is why Russia is getting hell because of Crimea – and will continue to get hell for a very long time. The only danger comes from within – from the regressive left and their newfound friends on the fascist right, and from their buddies the Islamists. Nationalism is dead. Anti-immigration does not mean resurrection of nationalism.

        • “Anti-immigration does not mean resurrection of nationalism”

          National sovereignty is on the rise inside europe, it´s an acknowledged phenomena. Globalist establishment it is slowly cracking.

        • “The only danger comes from within – from the regressive left and their newfound friends on the fascist right, and from their buddies the Islamists”

          You´re being naive, that´s only the backlash. Brussels´s sect of globalists intented to overcome the political future of europe´s national entities and many people became sickened of their policies.

        • If globalism means free trade and open economies, then no, that is not what Europeans are fed up from. They are fed up of the endless bureaucracy and the sickening policies of the EU such as in immigration, the cultural hegemony of the regressives, and Brussels being dominated by useless leftwing socialists masquerading as the European union idealism. If by globalism you mean multi-national monopoly capital – then again you need to point the fingers at the left for encouraging and promoting ossified state monopoly capitalism and anti-competitive practices and polices – which is the poor man’s version of socialism for these economic illiterates, who like Obama believe that it is the government that is producing all the goods and wealth.

          • To talk about “free trade” and “open economy” as if they were absolute values is very misleading, indeed there are times when a moderate protectionism is advisable to protect a specific economic sector. then no, that is not what Europeans are fed up from.

            EU´s failed immigration policy was tied to its economic global programme and not to some leftwing socialist utopia.

            “If by globalism you mean multi-national monopoly capital”

            No, I mean supra-national monopoly capital + cultural relativism + dissolution of national entities with its unique cultural and existential traits.

            • Protectionism just increases the price of domestic goods and puts a lot of people downstream of these protected goods to lose their jobs or lose their standard of living. If China can make cell phones a lot better and cheaper than I can do, I better not protect such an industry in my country, as it would be disastrous. There are very few industries that can benefit from protection, which is a form of graft and social engineering. You need to leave it up to the markets to decide what needs to be produced and what need not. The worst decision maker in this regards is the useless leftwing dominated government bureaucracy to decide what to produce as they are economically and businesswise complete illiterates with zero experience and a bias against private production. Surely there are anecdotal exceptions, but let not the tail wag the dog.

            • There is no reason to tie immigration to the economic program. EU-workers need not get a path to citizenship just because they moved to another EU country for a job. Again, this has to do with socialist idealism and the push by the left to assert multi-culturalism and diversity by fiat. Otherwise why should a Romanian become equal to a British citizen just because the Romanian is fixing someone’s toilet plumbing in London and not Bucharest? There is no economic imperative for such immigration, when the person can be a visiting foreign worker. It is clearly a result of socialist idealism, and the domination of the bureaucracy by leftwing parasites in cahoots with state or quasi-state mono-capitalism – who also push cultural relativism.

              “dissolution of national entities with its unique cultural and existential traits.” — and how does this help the economy? It does not. If a bunch of unskilled welfare-prone lumpen migrate – how does that improve the economy? It does not – in fact it puts a dent in the economy. So what made the EU masterminds believe that such unbalanced migration is beneficial? It surely was not the economy. It were the socialist ideals, resulting in the destruction of cultural and existential traits. If Supra-nationals are so adamant to hire cheap labour, then they should move their production to that country. They will soon discover that except for some very basic things, little can be moved to a cheap and unskilled jurisdiction.

    • The basic concept of the EU is good, even necessary in today’s age, but as it stands it needs a lot of rework. Catapulting the UK back into the Anglosphere where it belongs is the first step in that direction. Its rightful place being among its former colonies, not the nations of continental Europe. I also hope for the continued success of Poland’s PiS and Hungary’s Fidesz, who can tell Brussels to shove it when it matters.

    Looking at this map,i wonder if it would be better to swing north and south from the SAA bulge that has been created,which would hit rebel defences facing east from the rear,while securing the flanks of this spearhead.They should probably avoid getting embroiled in battle in built up city areas.Not sure how much value that road from azaz to idlb is,when u could just move stuff between areas via Turk roads.Which i assume are much better.

  2. Is the whole world just going to watch while the thugs Assad and Putin bomb thousands of people to death? Our leaders are in disgrace for allowing this to happen and causing civilisation to regress hundreds of years. At some time we have to stand up to these thugs and the sooner this happens the less people will be killed and maimed.

    • This same world bombed Mossul and Raqqa to the ground to liberate it from terrorists. Same in Eastern Ghouta.

      No need to regress hundred of years. In the past century, the US has launched nuclear bombs on japanese civilians, and has razed North Vietnam with an unprecedented bombing campaign.

      The syrian war is soft compared to american war crimes.

      • Few civilians were killed in Raqqa and Mosul. Big difference. Carpet bombing is not the same as spotting terrorists and immediately precision bombing within 10 meters of their whereabouts with a bomb or two. If you don’t know the difference, then you should stop talking about wars. US nukes Japan? In 1945? Why not talk about the war of 1812 then? That was almost 80 years ago. Get over it, and the two countries were at war. 500,000 Syrians killed by the Russians and Iranians and their friends is by far a larger tragedy — is comparable to Hitler’s drive against the Russians — but not 80 years ago, but today.

        • 500 000 syrians, killed, that include at least half of this numbers are governement soldiers, pro governement civilians or militias that helped defend their country against the jihadists you support.

          How many civlians will die in Eastern Ghouta? Maybe 1 000 in this offensive, maybe more, maybe less. Around the same number than in the final push for Aleppo?

          That’s war. Probably more than 5 000-10 000 died in Mossul alone killed by Iraqi army and relentless and massives US airstrikes. Much more than in Eastern Ghouta.

          Anyway, this assault will cost way less lives than another 5 years of war. The sooner it’s over, the better.

          • About 100,000 are soldiers and NDF, etc. The rest 400,000 are anti-Assad and innocent. And they are not jihadists. They became Islamists because of the atrocities committed by Assad. US airstrikes in Mosul was strictly precision bombing of ISIS positions identified through reconnaissance and imagery. All targets were double checked. Of course that does not stop ISIS to hold human shield or keep their family members with themselves. Mosul is a city of 2 or 3 million, as compared to East Ghouta of 300K. And the US does not have control over the Iraqi army and this Shiite militias who implemented a Sunni cleansing. Funny how people try to blame sectarian animosity that has been around 1400 years on the US. Just because 5,000 civilians, who were forewarned and were told to evacuate a year in advance, may have gotten killed in Mosul – that does not greenlight or justify killing 200 children, women, and men, every evening.

            I also hope they would surrender and the war to be over — but you realize that there is no way for the rebels to surrender. They will be tortured to death, or summarily executed. Thanks to your buddy Assad and his Nazi regime. And the democracies silently watch by — too scared to be labelled “imperialist”, “colonialist”, “after raw materials”, “wanting to steal the [non-existent] oil”, “anti-Muslim”, “trying to save face in lieu of massive humiliation”, “trying to impose superpower status”, etc.

          • Maybe you should check with the Islamic government of Iraq, and the Shiite terrorist militias of Iran, whom you support?

            So what do you think of Hunter Douglas, and why do you avoid my question?

          • Wrong. According to the article, that is an estimate by a Kurd who thinks the Iraqi government and ISIS have killed 40,000 civilians. US bombs surely have resulted in collateral deaths but in the very low numbers compared to your fancy number. So again, you are spreading false data.

    • The only reason western civilization is under attack is due to the actions of the Marxists and the regressive Left who are at war with western civilization and at war with the Enlightenment. Until this issue is addressed, there is no hope for democracies to stand up and fight back against totalitarianism and west-haters of different stripes. The decent Left needs to stand up and tell the regressives that enough is enough, that liberal democracy is in danger, that socialism is merely a utopian religion, instead of cower in fear of being labelled ‘racist’, ‘sexist’, etc.

  3. “Protectionism just increases the price of domestic goods and puts a lot of people downstream of these protected goods to lose their jobs or lose their standard of living”

    A too general statement, with your criteria europe should cease its agricultural protectionism (wich by the way has not proven to be disastrous)

    “You need to leave it up to the markets to decide what needs to be produced and what need not”

    No, that´s false, sometimes (many times) you need to intervene.

    “There is no reason to tie immigration to the economic program”

    But it was. Plus catastrophic geopolitical decisions (e.g toppling of gaddafi).

    “So what made the EU masterminds believe that such unbalanced migration is beneficial? It surely was not the economy”

    Yes it was. Migration got out of control because EU masterminds empowered socialist ideals trough UN, World Bank, FMI, etc pushing leftwing agendas worldwide (believing that economic gender parity and the likes could add to global GDP). The toppling of Gaddafi added fuel to the fire.

    The first and foremost source for finance of socialist ideals is the United Nations. Leftwing parasites in cahoots with quasi-state mono-capitalism are pushing exactly the same cultural agenda.

    • He is certainly a clown, especially when he wears his orange Sikh outfit and steps off the presidential plane. But in what way is NAFTA or his international trade position bad for Canada? Canada is ridden by monopoly capital. Only billion dollar businesses can survive in Canada and they have a tight relationship with the five layers of government Canadian have to deal with. By closing down the borders, it will make life a lot easier for these mono-capitalists and they will just raise their prices to the stratosphere. How does protectionism help Canadians?

    • Europe’s agricultural subsidies and protectionism has been an unmitigated disaster. Why do you think food is so expensive in Europe? Hundreds of millions of Europeans are subsidizing a fatcat community of uncompetitive farmers who are sucking them dry with inefficient production. A few farmers get a little rich while millions of people have to pay for higher food prices.

      So how did the landed leftwing bureaucrats claim that immigration is required in order to deliver economic benefits? Can you explain their argument?

      How is the economy supposed to improve by gender parity? Can you explain? Nobody would buy that argument. Face it, competitive market economy does not require immigration. Those who pushed for immigration and cultural annihilation did not have an economic argument. It was cultural and political – and as you say, cultural relativism, and arriving at the socialist promised land (where you “run out of other people’s money”) and where state capitalism is supposedly the true mode of production.

      • Come on, european food in not expensive, and it is of very good quality.

        “How is the economy supposed to improve by gender parity? Can you explain? Nobody would buy that argument”

        Here is the N°1 source for finance of socialist ideals:

        Why is Gender Equality Central for Economic Growth and Operational Effectiveness?

        “The WDR 2012 underlines that gender equality is a core development objective in its own right, but also smart economics, enhancing productivity and improving other development outcomes”

        World Bank Sustainable Development Bond Raises Awareness for Women and Girls’ Empowerment

        “The World Bank issued a Sustainable Development Bond to raise awareness for how empowering women and girls is one of the most effective ways to accelerate economic development, reduce poverty and build sustainable societies around the world. ”

        • The economic cost of stigma and the exclusion of LGBT people : a case study of India (English)

          “Human rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are usually considered through a social, cultural, or ethical lens, but equality and inclusion of LGBT people are also economic development issues”

          International Financial Institutions Announce $400 Billion to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals:

          “The multilateral development banks (MDBs) and IMF today signaled plans to extend more than $400 billion in financing over the next three years and vowed to work more closely with private and public sector partners to help mobilize the resources needed to meet the historic challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

              • “The ‘regressive’ left is generally anti-globalism and quite nationalistic”

                Doesn´t matter, they´re useful idiots.They are a prefect vehicle for the dissemination of the globalist cultural engineering (e.g the gender gospel).

                Remember François Hollande´s visit to Fidel Castro (the “Pope” of the regressive leftists), after that Fidel´s brother Raul met Hollande at the Elysee Palace…

                Most globalist leaders were regressive leftists in their youth (obama, merkel, hollande, etc)

              • The gender gospel is a cultural onslaught. But I can’t see how you can tie that to free trade and a market economy. I think you are confusing cultural liberalism or radicalism with economic liberalism. One can be a social or cultural conservative but economically liberal, or vice versa. The problem with regressive leftists and socialist is that they are anti-market and demand state control and ownership of the means of production. They are happy to break bread with rightwing nationalists who believe a return to nationalism and authoritarianism. The Nazis were at one time a socialist party. These gender and race activists today are the future Nazis.

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