The adoption by the UN Security Council resolution 2401 on 24 February, which involves a 30-day ceasefire throughout Syria, did not lead to a decrease in the intensity of hostilities. In addition to active fighting in the eastern outskirts of Damascus, from which the center of the Syrian capital is subjected to massive mortar shelling, the Turkish military operation “Olive Branch” continues in the north-western canton of Afrin. Partial advancement, in agreement with the local Kurdish authorities, of pro-government forces (for example, they were transferred to the Tel-Afar settlement) meets with fierce resistance from pro-Turkish units. Thus, from the south and west, the city of Janderes, on which the air strikes are made, is actually besieged.
There is no doubt that militants of terrorist groups, still occupying a number of regions of the country, including those known as “de-escalation zones” (primarily East Gutu), will strive to wrap the provisions mentioned in the resolution into their favor. Any peace talks, including the efforts of the Russian Center for the reconciliation of the warring parties, are torpedoed by them, as it was on February 21, and the attempts of the residents (as estimated by Western sources in Eastern Gut about 400,000) to abandon the enclave are blocked.
The adoption of Security Council resolution No. 2401 was not easy: it took a long time to harmonize it, because Russia did not support the “directive scheme for the immediate establishment of a ceasefire regime for a sufficiently long period”. Washington’s allies Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel sent a letter to Vladimir Putin requesting approval of the UN Security Council resolution. The maneuvers of Western partners clearly concealed the desire to withdraw from the attack acting in the interests of Western intelligence groups in East Gut, who were preparing to attack Damascus and provocations with chemical weapons. And at the same time – “cancel” the results of the recent Congress of the national dialogue in Syria, excluding any prospects for reconciliation and political dialogue.
The propaganda wrappings of another information attack on Damascus and Moscow have become (it’s already a tradition) accusations of “killing innocent civilians” as a result of “devastating attacks” of Syrian and Russian aviation, as well as “siege and hunger tactics”. There was not evidence, except for the stories of the newly emerged “White Helmets”, often difficult to distinguish from the militants. According to their logic, no action against terrorists should be taken due to the risk of “collateral damage”, which, you see, it happens where there are militants, but, for example, not in Mosul or Sana, which turned into ruins by the strikes of pro-Western “liberators” .
The final compromise version of the resolution states that the alleged truce does not apply to the “Islamic state”, “Al-Qaida”, “Djebhat an-Nusra” and their affiliated groups. It was this circumstance that conditioned the document’s support by the Russian delegation to the UN.
The UN representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari, said that “the government reserves the right to respond as it deems appropriate if terrorist groups attack the inhabitants in any part of Syria with even one single missile.” Tehran, like Damascus, will comply with the resolution, but “part of the suburbs of Damascus that are under the control of terrorists do not obey the ceasefire regime and anti-terrorist operations will continue there,” said the chief of the Iranian General Staff, Mohammad Bagheri.
According to the media, four new Russian fighters of the fifth generation of the Su-57, four Su-35S multipurpose fighters, Su-25 attack aircraft, as well as an A-50U long-range radar surveillance aircraft arrived at the Russian airbase of Khemeymim. The main challenge for the Russian aerospace forces in the skies of Syria is represented by the American F-22 fighter aircraft, which, among other things, solve the task of covering terrorists, and not only to the east of the Euphrates. According to unconfirmed reports from the Syrian media, as in Aleppo earlier, a number of Western mercenaries and Western intelligence officers are in the ranks of terrorists of East Guta, who could be hit by Syrian and Russian aircraft.
There is little doubt that the operation of the Syrian army «Damascus Steel» will continue, and above all, where the militants are firing at residential areas of the capital. As in 2016 in Aleppo, there are no alternatives to military defeat or displacement of militants entrenched in East Gut. The root of the problem is there. If terrorists did not receive support from outside, including under the guise of “humanitarian aid,” there would not be a need to conduct operations to free them of large urban areas where they use the civilian population as a “human shield”. Despite of any resolutions, until the militants of East Guta do not surrender. They connect their hopes with the West, and sooner they are convinced of the futility of these hopes, the more lives of civilians will be saved. According to the Center for reconciliation of the warring parties, the situation in East Gut continues to worsen. Violations of the ceasefire in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Idlib continue.
Russia expects that the foreign patrons of anti-government armed formations will fulfill their part of the agreements reached and ensure the cessation of combat activity in the interests of the speedy and safe passage of humanitarian convoys and will follow this closely. It is unlikely that Moscow will agree with the prospect of using the militants of the coming month to restore their forces with subsequent attacks on Russian ground and air targets.

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