*** Al-Rayhan 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. ***
*** In mid-November 2017, for the first time since the start of the Siege Watch project in late 2015, al-Rayhan'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 since mid-2013 along with the rest of Eastern Ghouta
Siege classification: Tier 1
Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognizes siege?: Yes, the UN officially recognized al-Rayhan as besieged as of 1 November 2016 (S/2016/962). Note: This 2016 designation was related to a 'comprehensive review' of the UN OCHA data, not any changes on the ground. Al-Rayhan has been under siege since 2013, and Siege Watch repeatedly called on UN OCHA to recognize it.
Active Truce?: No
Current population: Data unavailable. Al-Rayhan is in a rural area with a small civilian population left if any.
Military control: Jaysh al-Islam
Active conflict: Yes, intermittent attacks by pro-government forces. In early June 2017, pro-government forces briefly gained control of the town before it was recaptured by Jaysh al-Islam fighters.
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.