Ghouta (Arabic: غوطة دمشق / ALA-LC: Ghūṭat Dimashq) originally described the oasis formed by the Barada river around the site where Damascus, Syria, was founded. Starting in ancient times, canals dug by the inhabitants of Damascus irrigated land on either side of the Barada, increasing the size of the Ghouta to the south and east of the city. Separating the city from the dry grasslands bordering the Syrian Desert, the Ghouta has historically provided its inhabitants with a variety of cereals, vegetables and fruits.
Eventually the irrigated agricultural area in the Damascus countryside reached a size of 370 square kilometers (140 sq mi). In the 1980s, urban growth from Damascus started replacing agricultural use with housing and industry, shrinking the size of the green zone. Prior to the Syrian Civil War, the area was home to about two million people.
List of settlements in Ghouta
- Ashrafiyat Sahnaya (Darayya District)
- Deir Ali (Markaz Rif Dimashq District)
- Jaramana (Markaz Rif Dimashq District)
- Ein Tarma (Markaz Rif Dimashq District)
- Al-Bahariyah (Douma District)
- Hamouriyah (Markaz Rif Dimashq District)
- Otaybah (Douma District)
- Muadamiyat al-Sham(Darayya District)
- Al-Sabinah (Markaz Rif Dimashq District)
- Sahnaya (Darayya District)
- "Damascus - Landscape - City site". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Al Zoughbi, Samira (2005). "An Analysis of Agriculture-Environment Interactions and Policy Options for Sustainable Agriculture in Eastern Al Ghouta (Syria)" (PDF). Farming Systems and Poverty: Making a Difference -- Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium of the International Farming Systems Association: A Global Learning Opportunity. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 31. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Collelo, Thomas, ed. (1988). "Land, Water, and Climate". Syria: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 87600488.
- Alsaafin, Linah (6 February 2015). "Syria’s Eastern Ghouta: the latest casualty of war". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- "Damascus, Syria : Image of the Day". NASA. 26 June 2013. Satellite image of wider region showing 2013 green areas.
- "Eastern Ghouta". Satellite image 2016.
- "Western Ghouta". Satellite image 2016.