Local sources reported today that Syrian government forces have launched air strikes in the Eastern Ghouta region of the Damascus countryside despite a temporary ceasefire while rival rebel groups are gripped in violent clashes between one another. Local sources say regime attempts to advance in Damascus outskirts as region sees intense fighting between rival rebels.
Government forces are attempting to advance in several towns in Eastern Ghouta, including Deir al-Asafir, Zabdin and al-Rakabia. Much of the region is besieged by government troops or pro-government armed groups.
Ward Mardini, a Ghouta-based journalist told Al Jazeera, “Regime forces targeted [these towns] with heavy artillery and mortars in clear violation of the truce announced by Bashar al-Assad’s regime”.
She said, referring to rival rebel factions; “There has been a large exodus of people from the southern part of Eastern Ghouta due to the regime’s shelling, while many people have been displaced in Beit Sawa because of fighting between Jaysh al-Islam and Rahman Corps”.
On Monday, the Syrian army announced a 48-hour extension of a truce with rebel factions in Damascus and Eastern Ghouta that first was supposed to take effect at 1am on Saturday.