Syria Controls Half of Eastern Ghouta, Airstrikes Kill 45 More Civilians

Gains are coming at a heavy price for civilian population

The Syrian government continues to make gains in its military offensive the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, and is now reported to be in control of more than half of the shrinking rebel enclave.

17 days into the offensive, the offensive came with airstrikes by both Syria and the Russian Air Force, killing at least 45 more civilians Wednesday. Over 800 civilians are said to have been killed in the course of this offensive.

This has been a major problem, with civilians being killed in a disturbingly large number for no real military purpose, and much of the population fleeing inward into the remaining rebel territory, fearing what will come next.

The end game, presumably, is to negotiate a rebel surrender, but the rebels don’t appear interested, even with Russia assuring them they can have free and safe passage out of the region.

Eastern Ghouta is the last substantial rebel area this close to the capital, and has been a main focus for Syria, which has been trying to build a buffer zone around the city. Whether a victory in Ghouta will mean a safer Damascus, or just more unrest because of the civilian casualties, however, remains to be seen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.