Since March 2011, fighting in Syria has killed an estimated 465,000 people, injured more than one million, and forced about 12 million people – or half the country’s pre-war population – from their homes.
Eastern Ghouta, an area east of the capital Damascus, was the focus of a fierce offensive by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in recent weeks, resulting in more than 1,000 deaths, including those of 215 children, and 145 women.
On April 12, all of the rebel-held enclave was taken by the Syrian army and Russian military police patrols after all opposition groups agreed to evacuate.
Elsewhere, in northern Syria, Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels have been deployed to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin to confront a US-backed Kurdish militia.
The allied forces have now taken the main city of Afrin.
ISIL: The presence of ISIL is now limited to al-Hajar al-Aswad, south of Damascus, and Albu Kamal.
Golan Heights: The Israeli army said on Thursday it hit dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria overnight, and accused Iran of launching a rocket-and-missile attack on its forces in the occupied Golan Heights.
This is one of the many attacks by Israel in to Syria targeting regime government buildings and Iranian presence in Syria.
In a map released on Twitter by Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricusfrom it claimed to have hit almost twenty locations.
The IDF has struck dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in response to the Iranian rocket attack against Israel. Quds force is behind attack and has played the initial price. IDF remains ready for various scenarios but does not seek to escalate the situation. pic.twitter.com/4rC8gHK2LG
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) May 10, 2018
The Israeli military also said that it had destroyed some Syrian military targets.
A Syrian radar installation was destroyed in the attack, Syrian state news agency SANA cited a military source as saying.
“This is the first time that Israel has directly accused Iran of attacking it from within Syrian territory since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011,” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Jerusalem, said.
“The question is whether that will be a deterrent or whether it could invite further escalation from the other side.
“Accidental escalation towards further conflict is always a possibility.”
Who are the key players:
- Main cities under government control are: Damascus, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus, Palmyra, Albu Kamal.
Free Syrian Army (FSA)
Since the battle of Aleppo, the FSA has remained in control of limited areas in northwestern Syria.
Main areas it controls: Idlib province.
After the battle for Raqqa, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) remains in control of an area near Albu Kamal, surrounded by government forces westward and Kurdish forces in the east.
- Other groups fighting in Syria include Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, Iran-backed Hezbollah and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies