*** Beit Sawa was reclassified from a Tier 1 siege to the Siege Watch 'Watchlist' on 31 March 2018, when most of Eastern Ghouta reverted entirely to government control following a final scorched earth offensive, surrender deal, and forced population transfers to northern Syria. The town was depopulated during the final offensive. ***
Post-siege Note: Beit Sawa was captured by pro-government forces on 7 March 2018 during an unprecedented and devastating final scorched earth campaign by the Syrian government and its allies. The town was reportedly entirely depopulated as almost all remaining civilians were displaced as government forces entered the area. Although Beit Sawa was heavily damaged, it was not entirely destroyed, and the government will likely repopulate the area in the future either by allowing some original residents to return, or confiscating the land to use for its own purposes. It will therefore remain on the Siege Watch "Watchlist" pending information on future developments
*** In mid-November 2017, for the first time since the start of the Siege Watch project in late 2015, Beit Sawa's siege designation was elevated from Tier 2 to Tier 1 long with the rest of Eastern Ghouta. With the onset of winter the entire besieged enclave is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. ***
Dates: Besieged in stages since 2012 in stages, besieged completely since August 2013
Siege classification: Tier 1
Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognizes siege?: Yes, the UN officially recognized Beit Sawa as besieged as of 1 November 2016 (S/2016/962). Note: This designation was related to a 'comprehensive review' of the UN OCHA data, not any changes on the ground. Beit Sawa has been under siege since 2013, and Siege Watch repeatedly called on UN OCHA to recogize it.
Active Truce?: No
Current population: 13,000 (as of 7/31/17); (note: low-confidence estimate)
Civil control: Beit Sawa Local Council
Military control: Syrian rebel groups
Siege-related deaths: Yes, but records are unavailable
Aid: The last UN humanitarian assistance to reach the town was on 19 June 2016. Reports indicated that some of the food aid was not fit for consumption.
Active conflict: Yes, the area is subjected to government and Russian airstrikes and frequent missile and mortar attacks by pro-government forces.
Additional Details: Prices in Eastern Ghouta started to increase notably in July 2017 when the Syrian government ended the monopoly of the trader al-Manfoush at al-Wafideen checkpoint, placed further restrictions on basic goods like flour, and intermittently cut all commercial access. According to international agencies, access was finally cut in September or early October 2017. The halt in entry of limited commercial supplies via al-Wafideen is so damaging because it was one of the few remaining ways that people could get supplies. Smuggling tunnels from Eastern Ghouta to Barzeh and Qaboun were captured by pro-government forces earlier in 2017, and much of the rural southern agricultural sector of Eastern Ghouta was captured by government forces in mid-2016.