Syrian army steps-up effort to re-conquer territory it lost to rebels

The Syrian army is stepping up its efforts to conquer the last rebel-held enclave in the Syrian capital of Damascus, with the heaviest bombardment recorded this week in the last two-month of fighting. The army’s offensive has dented a Russian-sponsored ceasefire announced two weeks ago in the Eastern Ghouta area to the east of Damascus; with Moscow saying it is negotiating with mainstream rebel groups in several areas across the war-torn country to create new d-escalation zones and calm the fighting.

Rebels and residents said Moscow had already begun deploying some military police in certain checkpoints that border the rebel-held northern Homs countryside and in southwestern Syria where “de-escalation” zones have been announced, to assure that neither side would violate the Russian-brokered agreement, a move a Russian official told TV7, would guarantee an ongoing process of eventually de-escalating the entire country and provide a solid foundation to re-start an honest political process with the aim of ending the deadly conflict.