The Syrian government and allied Russian warplanes strengthened their heavy bombardment on the Eastern Ghouta this week, destroying a food warehouse in the city of Douma three days after its stock was delivered, while heavy clashes continue to take place in the Adarat al-Marakabat (Vehicles Administration) in the city of Harasta.
The head of the town council of Douma, Iyad Abdulaziz, said that the Assad regime forces had on Wednesday bombed a storehouse containing food aid for the residents of the Damascus Ghouta, who are suffering from a severe humanitarian crisis. He added that the humanitarian groups had distributed two thirds of this aid before the distribution process was suspended due to the heavy fighting which broke out in the area.
According to the local Red Cross, Douma saw last Sunday the entry of an aid convoy of 24 trucks carrying food and medicine needed by 21,500 people in the besieged city. The delivery was the first of its kind in nearly three months.
"There was a strike on the warehouse — two rockets. A third of the aid was still in there," Abdulaziz told AFP, adding: "The guys picked up as much [of the remaining aid] as they could, and we moved it to a different location."
Because of the ferocity of the bombardment on Wednesday, schools shut their doors out of fear for the students as warplanes targeted residential areas and regime forces bombed cities and towns of the Ghouta with rockets.
Douma is one of the biggest cities in the Eastern Ghouta controlled by the opposition. Regime forces have imposed a total siege on it, with Assad’s army and Russia continuing their bombardment despite Douma being part of the de-escalation zones agreement which was reached between Iran, Russia and Turkey, and implemented since July 2017.
This comes as heavy clashes continue between Syrian opposition fighters and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces at the Adarat al-Marakabat in the city of Harasta, which neighbors Douma in the Damascus countryside.
The Ahrar al-Sham rebel group published a video clip of the heaviest fighting which is occurring at Adarat al-Marakabat, with the video showing the moment of the clashes and the entry of the opposition forces inside the building and seizing of weapons which they captured after killing regime forces members.
Opposition forces are imposing a media blackout on the events of the battle likely for military reasons, and to preserve the secrecy of the details of the fighting.
On an official statement on Wednesday, Ahrar al-Sham announced the beginning of the battle, “They Have Wronged,” to take control of the Adarat al-Marakabat.
According to the statement, which Alsouria Net gained a copy of, “The battle comes amid the worsening humanitarian situation in the Eastern Ghouta and the repeated targeting by regime forces of the cities and towns of the Eastern Ghouta despite the fact that it is under the de-escalation zones [agreement].”
The statement said that “the battle achieved its first stage successfully, with its aim to take full control over the Adarat al-Marakabat, in addition to Rahba 446 adjacent to it, as it is a strategic area for the regime in terms of its logistical role and the positioning of Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah militia forces in it.”
According to photos published by the Harasta Coordination Council, after taking the building, opposition fighters recovered aid stolen by the Assad regime. The council said that “regime forces acquired U.N. aid in the military Adarat al-Marakabat, including oil packets, rice and bulgur packets, while the Ghouta residents have been forbidden a grain of wheat or rice.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.