Dozens Killed in New Offensive as Eastern Ghouta Evacuation Deal Crumbles

Syrian forces raid Douma after evacuation buses return empty

Dozens of civilians were killed Friday in Eastern Ghouta when an orderly evacuation deal in the city of Douma, the last rebel-held city collapsed overnight, and the Syrian military responded with a new offensive against the area.

Evacuation buses used in Douma

The first indication of a problem was that, after several successful days, the evacuation buses into Douma returned Thursday empty. Reports suggest the Jaish al-Islam rebels remaining in the city are increasingly split on the question of evacuating.

Syria’s military appeared unwilling to go back to their ultimatum to demand an evacuation, and just attacked outright. At least 36 were killed, and 40 according to some reports, as airstrikes and ground forces advanced on the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims 14,000 rebel fighters left in the city.  It seems such fighters are not going to be able to prevent the military retaking the city, especially with the rest of the area having fallen.

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.