*** Ein Tarma was reclassified from a Tier 1 siege to the Siege Watch 'Watchlist'on 31 March 2018, when it reverted entirely to government control following a final scorched earth offensive, surrender deal, and forced population transfers to northern Syria.***
Post-Siege Note: Ein Tarma was one of the communities covered under the surrender deal reached for the 'central sector' of Eastern Ghouta in late March 2018, following an unprecedented and devastating final scorched earth campaign by the Syrian government and its allies. Opposition fighters inEin Tarma, and many of the remaining civilians, were sent to northern Syria as part of the forced population transfers. Some civilians remained in theEin Tarma following the surrender deal, but there are no good estimates of the population due to the massive displacement caused by the final offensive. The community was heavily damaged, with nearly than three-quarters of its infrastructure damaged or destroyed and most of its original population already displaced even before the final offensive began (February 2018). As of June 2018, international access remained severely limited, civilians were still being denied freedom of movement, and communication was heavily monitored. As a result, Ein Tarma will remain on the Siege Watch 'Watchlist.'
*** In mid-November 2017, for the first time since the start of the Siege Watch project in late 2015, Ein Tarma'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 completely by mid-2013 along with the rest of Eastern Ghouta
Siege classification: Tier 1
Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognizes siege?: Yes. Listed as besieged for the first time in the 11 November 2015 UNSG report (S/2015/862)
Active Truce?: No
Current population: 2,000 (as of 07/31/17); (note: low-confidence estimate. Population decreased significantly since summer 2017 due to very intense government attacks.
Civil control: Ein Tarma Council but it is not very functional, it lacks capacity
Military control: Local armed groups, mainly on the town perimeters
Siege-related deaths: Data unavailable
Aid: Ein Tarma did not receive any humanitarian during the November 2016-January 2017 period. The last humanitarian assistance to reach the area was on 19 June 2016. Reports indicated that some of the food aid was not fit for consumption
Active conflict: Yes. The town is subject to missiles attacks from the regime, and daily air strikes that include Russia. Ein Tarma became a key target of government strikes in the summer of 2017 when an offensive was launched by pro-government forces to sever the Jobar neighborhood from Eastern Ghouta. Since then, pro-government forces including the elite 4th Armored Division have made efforts to advance from the southwest, and aerial and artillery strikes have destroyed key infrastructure and displaced much of the population. Several suspected chemical attacks targeted Failaq al-Rahman fighters on the frontline in July: On 1 July 1, 6 July, 14 July, and 20 July. In most of these cases the toxic agent was suspected to be chlorine, but in the 14 July attack two of the injured fighters displayed unresponsive pinpoint pupils, which are consistent with a exposure to a nerve agent like sarin.
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.
Ein Tarma previously receives displaced people uprooted from the southern and eastern parts of Eastern Ghouta by pro-government attacks, but since mid-2017, the majority of the population has been displaced else in Eastern Ghouta due to the intense attacks.