The first success of the campaign in 2017, the year for Syrians will be the pacification of the enclave of Wadi Barada.
The militants here in Dec put up a stubborn resistance to hold the strategically important valley, upon which they could affect the water supply of Damascus. Attack from the South, the militants are confident enough to beat it. But the Syrians came in on the other hand, the impact of the SAA and groups “Hezbollah” to the North of the valley, led to the fact that the rebels lost a number of tactically important heights and their position in the Western part of Wadi Barada has deteriorated. After that, they immediately asked for an armistice.
After discussions with representatives of the armed forces, the SAA and “Hezbollah” agreements were reached:
1. Fighters from tomorrow, allow on the territory of the enclave of specialists, which will begin to restore the infrastructure associated with the water supply of Damascus.
2. Foreign mercenaries, as well as members of militias that are not covered by the ceasefire agreement (especially “al-Nusra”), should be traditionally taken to Idlib.
3. At the same time, the militants of the local, will be allowed to keep small arms and they in fact will be local police who will maintain order in the enclave in conjunction with SAA.
4. All heavy and medium weapons must be handed over to SAA – this applies to tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, howitzers, mortars, Susek, etc.
In General, there is a traditional scheme with moving the militants to Idlib and reintegration of remaining in the Syrian society within the framework of the national reconciliation strategy pursued by the Syrian government. It is true there is one difference, as previously, the remaining Syrian territory, the militants were not allowed to leave even small arms, preferring to allow them to serve in the local militia, only after filtration. But it probably was a concession in exchange for a speedy solution to the question of water supply of Damascus.
Of course, the coordination of procedures and removal of insurgents will take some time – on the one hand, it is reported, has started removing roadblocks of militants in the East of the enclave, on the other hand, it is reported that Syrian engineers are repairing the obstacle in the work. So still the questions of the surrender of the enclave to bring to a logical end, but I think if the rebels do not suddenly abandon of the agreement, the enclave within one, maximum two weeks, will come under the control of the SAA.