The Rif Dimashq offensive (February 2018–present), code-named Operation Damascus Steel,
 is a
military offensive launched by the
Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in February 2018 in a bid to capture the rebel-held eastern
 East Ghouta, a pocket of towns and farms, has been under
government siege since 2013 and has been a major rebel stronghold in the vicinity of the capital of
Damascus. According to the United Nations, nearly 400,000 people live in East Ghouta.
Associated Press reported that the potential capture of the whole rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave would represent one of the most significant victories for Syrian president
Bashar al-Assad in the civil war and the worst setback for the rebels since their defeat in the
Battle of Aleppo in late 2016.
Reuters stated the capture of Eastern Ghouta would represent the biggest prize for president al-Assad since the recapture of all of Aleppo.
These actions have drawn widespread international condemnation, with the
United Nations human rights chief charging the
Syrian regime and its foreign allies of planning their next "apocalypse".
 On March 16, 2018, between 12,000 and 13,000 people fled Eastern Ghouta, in what is reported as the largest one-day exodus in the country's seven-year war.