Opposition fighters are preparing to repulse an imminent ground assault by regime forces on their last enclave near Damascus, a rebel spokesman said, after air raids and bombardment intensified on Tuesday.
The Jobar district in northeast Damascus and the towns and countryside of the Eastern Ghouta to the east of the capital have been under the control of the opposition for most of the six-year war.
Faylaq al-Rahman, a key rebel group, expects the army to attack the area through two zones — Taiba to the northeast of Jobar, and Ayn Terma to its southeast.
A Faylaq al-Rahman spokesman said: “Within hours we expect there will be efforts to storm the area because they usually begin by combing the area with bombardment.”
Opposition fighters and witnesses said that the bombardment and airstrikes increased on Monday, saying the shelling was the heaviest so far during the two-month campaign by regime forces.
A resident indicated that locals had taken refuge inside shelters, adding that at least five buildings had been destroyed as a result of the bombardment over two days.
He noted that many of the residents have concentrated in the area in recent weeks because of the shelling, adding that even if the regime attacked the area the residents would be able to leave.
“This is not Aleppo, where people were under siege. The Ghouta is a bigger area and the towns are open to each other,” he said.
However the movement between the towns of the Eastern Ghouta has slowed since infighting began between competing opposition factions in the area.
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.