2017 Jobar offensive

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2017 Jobar offensive
Part of the Rif Dimashq Governorate campaign of the Syrian Civil War
Date20 June – 14 August 2017
(1 month, 3 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Result Offensive stalled; Syrian Army advance on Jobar repelled by rebels.
Belligerents
 Syrian Arab Republic Al-Rahman Corps calligraphy.jpg Al-Rahman Legion[1][2]
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Al-Rahman Corps calligraphy.jpg Captain Abdul Nasr Shamir
(al-Rahman Legion commander-in-chief)[3]
Al-Rahman Corps calligraphy.jpg Abu Saeed al-Basha
(al-Rahman Legion commander) [4]
Units involved

Syrian Army

Ministry of Interior

Syrian Air Force
Al-Rahman Corps calligraphy.jpg Al-Rahman Legion
Casualties and losses
Unknown 400 killed (per SAA)[7]
50 civilians killed[8]

The 2017 Jobar offensive was a military operation launched by the Syrian Arab Army and allies against rebel positions in the eastern outskirts of Damascus city, mainly the neighbourhood of Jobar and Ayn Tarma.[9]

Background[edit]

Jobar has remained the last major stronghold of rebels in east Damascus city since the SAA restored full control over the Qaboun and Barzeh districts earlier in May 2017.

From 14 to 18 June 2017, the Syrian Arab Air Force launched dozens of air and artillery strikes in Jobar to prepare for the offensive.[2][10]

The offensive[edit]

On 20 June, Syrian government forces launched a major military operation in the Jobar suburb in eastern Damascus, in a bid to capture this long-standing rebel stronghold. Prior to the ground attack, the Russian Air Force alongside with the Syrian Arab Air Force targeted rebel positions in Jobar, Ayn Tarma and Zamalka with heavy bombardment that was ongoing since pre-dawn hours.[11] On 21 June, the military reportedly made advances in both Jobar and the Ain Terma area.[12][13] The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported local activist claims of a chemical attack on northern Jobar on 22 June.[14]

On 24 June, the Syrian Army captured the Ayn Tarma valley from the al-Rahman Legion, in addition to the southern parts of Ayn Tarma town.[15][16] A rebel counter-attack was repelled on 26 June.[17] On 28 June, Syrian Army advanced inside Ayn Tarma, securing areas near Sunbul Fuel Station and Ayn Tarma Garage, while in Jobar they captured some points in Taybah district near the Great Mosque.[18]

On 29 June, the Syrian Army was in control of almost all buildings near the Sunbul Fuel Station and also captured the Ayn Tarma Junction, imperiling the main rebel supply route to Jobar.[19] On 2 July, the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard captured around 15 building blocks east of the M5 highway, and later captured most of Ayn Tarma's southern quarters. The al-Rahman Legion and the Syrian Network for Human Rights reported said that Ayn Tarma came under a chlorine gas attack;[20][21] the Syrian Army stated that this was just vindication the rebel group was using to justify its recent losses.[22][23][24]

On 5 July, Syrian Army operations resumed on Jobar and Ayn Tarma with the Army capturing a number of points in the Taybah area of the former and most of Ayn Tarma Triangle was captured in the latter. Concurrently, Jaysh al-Islam took advantage of the situation storming the towns of Beit Sawa and Al-Ashari.[25][26][27] Four days later, the Army reached the center of Ayn Tarma Triangle and began pushing northwards.[28] Government airstrikes continued through mid-July on Ayn Tarma, Hazzah and Zamalka as part of the offensive on Jobar, with many casualties.[29]

On 22 July, a ceasefire was brokered in East Ghouta by Egypt, Russia, Jaysh al-Islam, and Syria's Tomorrow Movement. However, the Rahman Legion and Tahrir al-Sham were excluded from the ceasefire.[30] The next day, Ayn Tarma, as well as Harasta, Arbeen and Douma, were hit by several airstrikes.[31][32] More clashes between the Rahman Legion and the Syrian Army erupted overnight between 25 and 26 July.[33]

On 8 August, fighting intensified in Ayn Tarma and other districts in eastern Damascus. The Rahman Legion targeted several Syrian Army vehicles at the front. By 9 August, dozens of artillery and air strikes hit rebel positions in the district.[30]

It was reported on 12 August that the SAA made advances at the al-Manasher Roundabout and the Arab Neighborhood of Jobar.[34] However, the next day, a rebel tunnel bomb blast killed between 16 and 20 soldiers in the Jobar district.[35] Still, the Syrian Army made further progress on 14 August, as they pushed further southwards from al-Manasher Roundabout, capturing several building blocks east of Jobar Sports Hall.[36]

Aftermath – Continued fighting[edit]

Syrian government forces continued to bomb towns and villages in Eastern Ghouta in Rif Dimashq throughout late August and early September, along with ground operations around Jobar and Ayn Tarma, directed at ceasefire signatory al-Rahman Legion and other rebel groups.[37]

On 25 September 2017, the Syrian Army, led by the Republican Guard and the 4th Armoured Division, reported it had broken through rebel frontlines along the Jobar-Ayn Tarma axis, resulting in the capture of 30 building blocks, some of which government sources said were demolished by the rebels to thwart further army gains.[38] SOHR reported heavy shelling of built-up areas in Jobar on 26 September.[39] Rahman Legion fighters were killed and injured after a pre-planned artillery strike hit them as they were maneuvering across an open road near the frontline in Ayn Tarma on 27 September.[40] The next day, an underground tunnel complex was detonated by the Rahman Legion, resulting in massive devastation across the entire western part of Ayn Tarma and the deaths of 45 Syrian Army soldiers with dozens more injured.[41][42][43] Afterwards there was a de-escalation of the fighting until 15 October, when rebel fighters shelled the Old City of Damascus, killing four and injuring nine people. The Syrian Air Force responded with airstrikes on Misraba, Saqba and Ayn Tarma.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "VIDEO: Syrian, Russian jets pummel east Damascus suburbs as troops advance". 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Regime bombards Damascus district in attempt to pry eastern neighborhood from rebel forces". Syria Direct. 18 June 2017.
  3. ^ "In pictures: Islamist rebels assemble all available firepower to stop SAA offensive in east Damascus". 30 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Syrian Army annihilates Islamist leadership in east Damascus during early stage of Jobar offensive". 24 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Syrian Army captures large tunnel, neighborhood in east Damascus town". 21 June 2017.
  6. ^ "In pictures: Syrian Army throws another Republican Guard brigade into battle for Damascus". 6 July 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  7. ^ 400 rebels killed by the Syrian Army during east Damascus offensive
  8. ^ "The Free Syrian Army condemns the attack on its headquarters in the eastern Ghouta". Al-Quds al-Arabi. 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Rebels violate ceasefire: Damascus residential area shelled". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  10. ^ Aid Convoy to Besieged Area Comes Under Fire in Syria, VOA, 18 June 2017
  11. ^ "Syrian regime forces launch assault on Jobar, dozens of casualties". Iraqi News.
  12. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Syrian army advances on Damascus outskirts, says Hezbollah-run outlet". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Syrian Army captures large tunnel, neighborhood in east Damascus town". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  14. ^ The Syrian Regime Has Used Chemical Weapons Five Times after Khan Sheikhoun Incident, SN4HR, 14 August 2017
  15. ^ Leith Fadel (24 June 2017). "Syrian Army captures strategic Ayn Tarma Valley in east Damascus". Al-Masdar News.
  16. ^ "Missiles shelling targets Ein Tarma and accompany the violent clashes in the vicinity of the town". SOHR. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Syrian Army rebuffs jihadist-led militant counterattack in East Ghouta". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Syrian Army secures major advance in jihadist stronghold". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Breaking: Syrian Army makes a major advance in east Damascus". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  20. ^ Alexandra Wilts (2 July 2017). "Syrian army 'deploys chlorine gas against rebels east of Damascus' despite US warning". The Independent.
  21. ^ The Syrian Regime Has Used Chemical Weapons Five Times after Khan Sheikhoun Incident, SN4HR, 14 August 2017
  22. ^ "In pictures: Syrian Army on the roll in east Damascus despite fabrications of chemical attack". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Syria: SAA breaks through Ayn Tarma defensive line". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Syrian military rejects 'baseless' allegations of chemical weapons use". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Syrian Army overruns jihadist forces to score new gains in east Damascus". Al-Masdar News. 5 July 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  26. ^ "Syrian Army advances in key suburbs of east Damascus: video". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Militants attack one another in East Ghouta as the Syrian Army advances in Jobar". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  28. ^ "Islamist rebels suffer more setbacks in east Damascus as Syrian Army advances". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 9 July 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  29. ^ Increased airstrikes in east Damascus towns amid battle for rebel-held district, Syria Direct, 17 July 2017
  30. ^ a b "East Ghouta ceasefire flags as rebels launch attack, prompting regime retribution". Syria Direct. 8 August 2017.
  31. ^ Bassam Khabieh (23 July 2017). "Syrian warplanes strike near Damascus despite ceasefire: Syrian Observatory". Reuters.
  32. ^ Despite cease-fire, shelling continues in Eastern Ghouta Archived 29 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Al-Monitor, 7 August 2017
  33. ^ "Clashes rock Syria truce zone: monitor". AFP. 26 July 2017.
  34. ^ "Syrian Army captures strategic part of Jobar after six years of war". Al-Masdar News. 12 August 2017.
  35. ^ The Latest: Rebels fighting for Damascus suburbs kill 20, Washington Post
  36. ^ "Islamist rebels suffer more setbacks in Jobar as elite SAA troops capture several sites". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  37. ^ Tamer Osman Russian-backed cease-fire fails to stop shelling in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, Al-Monitor, 20 September 2017
  38. ^ "VIDEO: Syrian Army achieves huge breakthrough in east Damascus". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 25 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  39. ^ Regime forces shell Jobar and target the Eastern Ghouta with renewed clashes east of the capital Damascus, SOHR, 26 September 2017
  40. ^ "Syrian Army snags a dozen militants in brutal ambush attack: East Damascus". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  41. ^ "Bloody Thursday for Syrian Army in rural Damascus: 45 soldiers killed [Photos + Video]". AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  42. ^ "FSA Faylaq Al-Rahman detonating whole W. front of Ain Terma, killing 10s of government fighters. Drone view included - Map of Syrian Civil war/ Global conflict in Syria - Syria news - syria.liveuamap.com". Map of Syrian Civil war/ Global conflict in Syria - Syria news - syria.liveuamap.com. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  43. ^ "45 Syrian Army Troops Died In Faylaq al-Rahman Ambush In Ayn Tarma East Of Damascus (Photos)". South Front blog. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.

Further reading[edit]