Syria’s East Ghouta Divide and Conquer Strategy
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Syria’s battle strategy is working – the way East Aleppo was liberated from US-supported terrorists in December 2016.
These elements are clearly on the back foot in East Ghouta after holding its civilian population hostage since 2013, brutalizing them, preventing them from fleeing to safety in government controlled areas – supported by Washington and its imperial partners.
East Ghouta’s liberation is likely in the coming weeks, maybe sooner. Operations begun on February 18 freed 70% of the enclave.
Over the weekend, it was split in two, heading for three pockets of isolated US-supported terrorists. They’re not “rebels,” as falsely reported. They’re brutal cutthroat killers.
Early Monday morning, AMN news, a reliable source of information on the war, reported the following:
“Following the split of rebel-held areas across Damascus’ East Ghouta region into two along the Masraba-Arbeen axis on Sunday afternoon, the Syrian Army is now making an all-out assault to force a third isolation of militant-controlled territory.”
“Since midnight on Monday until right now, assault units of the Syrian Army’ veteran 4th Mechanized Division have been in the midst of a major battle with jihadist fighters near the district town of Harasta in what is now the northern East Ghouta pocket.”
According to AMN, Syrian forces are within 200 – 300 meters of dividing East Ghouta into three isolated pockets. Achieving it could come in hours.
Isolated/surrounded pockets of US-supported terrorists are weakened, more vulnerable to defeat – an inevitable outcome unless Washington intervenes against Syrian forces to save them, risking confrontation with Russia if undertaken.
Given US rage for dominance, anything is possible. Syria remains an unresolvable conflict because Washington and its rogue partners want endless war continued.
Turkish aggression in northern Syria against Kurdish YPG fighters complicates things further, including reported use of CWs, a YPG statement saying:
“(O)n March 8, 2016 at 15:00, shelling (occurred) with rockets that carry chemical material, which we believe to be yellow phosphorous chemical weapon, on Sheikh Maqsud neighborhood by the (Turkish-supported) Syrian armed opposition factions and battalions.”
In February, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Turkey fired shells on Kurdish fighters containing “toxic substances.”
On February 17, AP News said civilians in Kurdish-controlled Afrin “suffered breathing difficulties and other symptoms indicative of poison gas inhalation after an attack launched by Turkey on the” enclave.
On Sunday according to the Russian reconciliation center in Syria, 52 civilians fled East Ghouta captivity to government-controlled territory, the first successful exodus of significant numbers – many more likely to follow.
Russian General Vladimir Zolotukhin said they’ll “be provided with all the necessary assistance, including medical help.
For the first time, longtime civilian hostages are able to explain what they’ve endured, one now free saying:
“We lived in fear under the militants. There were very harsh conditions. They drove up food prices, introduced a strict regime. You could lose your head for the slightest fault.”
Another said “(s)even years we have suffered. All of us in Misrab remained neutral. But we couldn’t leave from there, couldn’t do anything. They didn’t let us go, controlled us and pressured us.”
“We haven’t seen anything that was sent to us. No money, no dollars, they took everything away. They completely robbed us.”
These are the elements Washington and its rogue partners support.
Liberating East Ghouta from their control won’t end seven years of devastating war, especially with US plans to create a 60,000-strong terrorist army to continue combating government forces.
How Russia responds to this development will greatly influence the course of war ahead and whether resolution is possible.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”