Syria: Regime-controlled Areas Tripled One Year after Astana Talks

Syria: Regime-controlled Areas Tripled One Year after Astana Talks

Saturday, 5 May, 2018 - 05:45
Syrian government forces appear to be close to retaking Yarmouk that was once home to 200,00 Palestinians. Anadolu Agency.
Moscow, London - Raed Jabr, Asharq Al-Awsat
Regime forces controlled-areas in Syria have increased from 19 to 60 percent, one year after Russia, Iran and Turkey begun implementing a “de-escalation” agreement in the war-torn country, as part of the Astana operation.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Friday that before the Astana 4 peace talks, Syrian regime forces controlled an area of about 36,000 km² that constitutes 19.3 percent of the Syrian land area.
The Observatory said that by that time, regime forces were the third most powerful force in Syria.

“ISIS was the most powerful force with more than 72,300 km² of controlled areas inside the country, or an equivalent of 39.1 percent of the Syrian land area, while the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) was ranked second and controlled about 22.1 percent of the Syrian land area or 41,000 km² of land,” the Observatory reported on its website.

Since May 2017, regime forces have gained more territories, currently controlling 60 of the overall Syrian land area.

The monitoring group said that since the retreat of ISIS in Syria, the SDF remained the second force with about 26.7 percent of the Syrian land area, an equivalent of 49,400 km², while opposition factions lost more than half of the size of their controlled areas, where they currently hold 10.1 percent of Syria’s lands.

As for ISIS, the Observatory said that in May 2018, the terrorist group controled only 5643 km², or 3 percent of the Syrian land area.

Separately, Russian forces entered the town of Sinjar and the village of Abu Dali, 50 kilometers southeast of Idlib, Northern Syria, where they installed monitoring points.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Friday that Syrian regime troops are completing the operation to liberate the area of the former Palestinian refugee camp Yarmuk in the southern suburb of Damascus.

"At this point, groups of ISIS terrorists are split and are being eliminated part by part. More than 65 percent of this suburb are under control of regime troops," Konashenkov said.

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