Ghouta (Arabic: غوطة دمشق / ALA-LC: Ghūṭat Dimashq) originally described the oasis formed by the Barada river around the site where Damascus, Syria, was founded. Starting in ancient times, canals dug by the inhabitants of Damascus irrigated land on either side of the Barada, increasing the size of the Ghouta to the south and east of the city. Separating the city from the dry grasslands bordering the Syrian Desert, the Ghouta has historically provided its inhabitants with a variety of cereals, vegetables and fruits.
Eventually the irrigated agricultural area in the Damascus countryside reached a size of 370 square kilometers. In the 1980s, urban growth from Damascus started replacing agricultural use with housing and industry, shrinking the size of the green zone. Prior to the Syrian Civil War, the area was home to about two million people.
Heavy fighting between syrian arab army and militants in eastern ghouta