On March 9, fierce clashes continued between government forces and militants across the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus. According to pro-government sources, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies advanced on positions of Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) on March 8 and March 9.
SAA units also attacked militant positions in the town of Modira east of the government-held Armoured Vehicles Base. Modira is a key defense point of the militant groups in the area. While it is not controlled by the SAA, Modira serves as a link between the southern and northern parts of the militant-held area.
A look at the Harasta district:
Meanwhile, the Tiger Forces and the Republican Guard started storming the militant-held town of Jisrin and the village of Aftris in the southeastern part of Eastern Ghouta. This advance becamse possible because government forces had liberated the villages of Hawsh Ashari and Hawsh Qubaybat, the Jisrin farms and the Air Defense Battalion base on March 8.
Army troops are advancing on Jisrin.
Government forces are evacuating civilians from Eastern Ghouta:
According to the Russian reconciliation center, about 1,500 people from five different Eastern Ghouta settlements are ready to leave the area. However, militants prevent them from doing this.
“Militant leaders prevent civilians from leaving Eastern Ghouta by all means. According to our estimates, for today at least 1,500 residents of Jisrein, Hammura, Saqba, Kafr Batna and Hezzeh are ready to leave Eastern Ghouta,” Major General Yuri Yevtushenko, the chief of the center said on March 9. “The reconciliation center’s hotline is receiving phone calls from local residents, who say they are willing to leave Eastern Ghouta. People have grown tired of militants’ lawlessness, they complain of unbearable conditions and are ready to leave the de-escalation zone even bypassing the established humanitarian corridor.”
Major General Yevtushenko once again called on militant groups to allow civilians to leave the conflict area.