NOTE: After several years of relative calm under a prior truce agreement, the Syrian government launched a scorched earth campaign against in Barzeh and its neighbor Qaboun in February 2017. The violence peaked by early May, leading to a chaotic serious of direct surrender negotiations between Syrian military units and various armed opposition groups, local armed groups, and civil representatives. A series of forced population transfers to Idlib took place between 8 - 29 May. It will remain on the Siege Watch "Watchlist" for the forseeable future.
Dates: Most recently, from February - May 2017.
Siege classification: Watchlist
Formerly Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognized siege?: No
Active Truce?: Barzeh surrendered to the Syrian government's "surrender or die" strategy in May 2017. A series of forced population transfers deported thousands of fighters and civilians, disarming the neighborhood. (See Siege Watch Seventh Quarterly Report, pp 26-32 for more details about the Barzeh surrender and population transfers.)
Population: Approximately 30,000 people around time of surrender in (May 2017).
Background: Barzeh originally came under siege in 2013 around the same time as many areas of Eastern Ghouta, but reached a local ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government in January 2014. This agreement had more or less held ever since, and allowed for access of goods and services. This changed on March 16, 2016 when reports arose that the government had closed all access points to Barzeh, preventing access and freedom of movement for civilians. This siege was lifted after 10 days and the checkpoint was reopened, but since the threat of siege remained it was added to the Siege Watch "Watchlist"
For more information on the original siege of Barzeh and the earlier local ceasefire agreement, see PAX's June 2014 report: SYRIA ALERT XIII Forced ceasefires: The case of Barzeh and Qaboun,PAX, 20, June, 2014.