George Sabra, the former president of the Syrian National Coalition, said that the latest military gains made by the Free Syrian Army in the town of Otaiba and Eastern and Western Ghouta near Damascus represent a "significant step on the ground by the forces of the Syrian revolution," according to a Syrian National Council statment.
Sabra called on the political blocs "to focus on the material and tangible gains and military operations to ensure tightening the noose on the regime's forces."
Sabra also said that "breaking the siege on the people of Ghouta, who were once gassed by the Assad regime and who were starved to show submission to Assad, is one of the most important achievements made by the FSA fighters today."
Furthermore, Sabra considered that "progress in Otaiba will open strategic routes for the revolutionary forces to secure the weapon supplies and delivery of medical and humanitarian aid for trapped residents in the surrounding neighborhoods." In addition, Sabra added that FSA’s victories in Eastern and Western Ghouta "constitute a considerable advantage for revolutionary forces at Geneva II.”
The Syrian Coalition is still undecided about participation in this conference so long as the conditions that it set forth are still not met yet. "If the Syrian Coalition agreed to participate in Geneva II, it would be the side responsible for the formation of the negotiating team in the peace conference," he stressed.
Sabra concluded his statement to the Media Office of the Syrian Coalition by stressing the need for "participation of combatant forces and the Free Syrian Army in Geneva II, as they have been paying the tax of blood on the battlefield.
On his part, Salim Idris, Chief of Staff of the FSA said that "we will not stop fighting during all stages of the negotiations in Geneva, and what strengthens our position as fighters is getting ammunition and weapons.”
It is worth mentioning that the town Otaiba, located 30 kilometers east of Damascus and 11 kilometers from Damascus International Airport, is the gateway of Eastern Ghouta to the Syrian Desert. In addition, it is a transportation hub that links southern Syria to the other provinces. Over the past months, the FSA used the town as a supply route to get arms, ammunition, and medicine from the country's north to its south and vice versa. The regime’s loss of this strategic town would threaten its grip on the entire region