Infantry Caught in the Open: Intense Fighting Continues in Eastern Ghouta

first published on March 12, 2018 by

Intense fighting continues in the remaining rebel pockets of eastern Ghouta. The surviving militants are desperately fighting back against the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) bloody campaign to completely control the besieged Damascus suburb.

Over the past month, the Assad regime and his SAA have pummeled the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta with a seemingly unending barrage of air and artillery strikes. Ground operations commenced shortly after this preliminary bombardment and now purportedly half the rebel held territory is back in the hands of the SAA. These gains have apparently broken the bastion into three separate smaller pockets held by various groups – seeking refuge and taking up defensive positions in the urban neighborhoods of the contested area.

The video, released by jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam allegedly shows some of the fighting on the eastern Douma front against the advancing SAA. Centered around Douma, this new front and pocket of resistance is not far from the Harasta armored vehicle base – which has also been isolated by the regime and has seen continually intense fighting for several months now. The third recently formed rebel enclave is located to the south and is centered around Irbin.

The clip begins with SAA armor advancing on the entrenched rebel positions. A tank and an apparent ZSU-23 somewhat clumsily rumble forward but seem thwarted by a large ditch. The ZSU wisely grabs some cover behind a dilapidated wall and begins engaging right in the direction of the camera. The four 23mm anti-aircraft guns begin smoking as they fire burst after burst towards the militant lines, the rounds audibly snapping over the heads of the defenders. The tank finally gets in on the action and fires several main gun rounds.

After the cameraman covers some of the Jaysh al-Islam militants fighting along the trenches of the front, the footage takes thoroughly aggravating turn. What seems like an entire company of SAA infantry begins moving away from the new camera location – exposing their backs and completely oblivious to the jihadist position. The militants pathetically open fire, alerting the enemy and spraying rounds worthlessly over their heads. Dozens of SAA soldiers sprint through the ineffective fire and appear largely unscathed by the poor marksmanship. Even a tank lumbers through this kill-zone, offering its vulnerable backside to the rebels. But without any RPG’s, belt-fed machine guns, or even rudimentary marksmanship skills, these guys are as ill-prepared as they are inept. Allowing every infantryman’s dream to painfully slip through their fingers.