The Assad regime has launched a large-scale military operation against the FSA groups and residents of eastern Qalamoun in Rural Damascus with the support of the Russian forces. The regime’s offensive is a repeat of the scenario that took place in many liberated areas which ended with the mass forced displacement of the local population to bring about demographic change in these areas.
Activists in eastern Qalamoun said that the Assad regime and Russia are carrying out the threats they issued about a month ago when they threatened they would destroy and burn the area should the local residents reject the terms of a settlement dictated by the Assad regime and Russia and which was aimed at bringing the area back under the control of the regime.
Jassir Abbara, a commander with the Ahmad Abdou FSA group, said that Russia is putting the FSA fighters and residents of the area under increasing pressure to agree to the regime and Russian terms. He noted that these threats were made in parallel with military build-up by regime forces in eastern Qalamoun, specifically around the town of Jeiroud.
Abbara, who is a representative of the Ahmad Abdou FSA group in the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC), pointed out that the Assad regime forces have recently cut off the only route to the town of Jeiroud. He said that the move is aimed at ramping up the pressure on civilians to agree to a settlement the Assad regime and Russia are trying to impose on the local population.
The area has become completely isolated and besieged by regime forces and the allied Iranian militias, Abbara added. He also said that these forces prevent the entry and exit of civilians to the region and block the entry of food and other necessities.
Representatives of residents of eastern Qalamoun on Tuesday sent a letter to the United Nations and friendly countries explaining the dire humanitarian situation of civilians and highlighting the war crimes being committed by the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias.
The letter reaffirmed the FSA groups’ commitment to the cease-fire agreement and the UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2254, which called for reaching a political solution and the protection of civilians. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)