Information indicating that the neighbourhood of Soyapango was controlled by the FMLN during the late-1989 offensive and whether it still is effectively controlled by the FMLN - El Salvador [SLV5283]

The Americas Watch report Carnage Again: Preliminary Report on Violations of the Laws of War by Both Sides in the November 1989 Offensive in El Salvador (24 November 1989) provides an account of events during the abovequoted offensive. According to that report (pages 5-6), the neighbourhood of Soyapango is a poor residential area located in the East of San Salvador, along the Pan American Highway. The November 1989 FMLN offensive started with simultaneous attacks on various sites, including the civil defense post of Soyapango (page 6).

Effective control by the FMLN possibly cannot be defined for many areas during the offensive's combats, since security forces' incursions with armoured vehicles and soldiers, as well as strafing runs by different aircraft, are reported by various sources as having taken place in the areas with FMLN presence. However, page 8 of the quoted report indicates that the FMLN, at the height of the offensive, occupied one third of the capital, with guerrillas entrenched and fighting in the northern, northeastern, southern and eastern parts of the city. The Americas Watch report describes Soyapango as one of seven poor neighbourhoods of the capital considered FMLN "strongholds" during the offensive (p. 9), in which a curfew with orders to shoot on sight was imposed by the government on 14 November 1989. Human Rights Watch corroborated on 10 May 1990 in a telephone communication with the IRBDC that the neighbourhood of Soyapango was a temporary guerrilla stronghold during the November 1989 offensive, which ended (in the San Salvador area) with the retreat of the surviving guerrilla forces from the capital later that month. The source added that Soyapango, as other poor neighbourhoods, is possibly thought by the armed forces or the government to harbour guerrilla supporters or sympathizers.

For more information on the November 1989 FMLN offensive, please feel free to consult the weekly press releases and other publications covering the period at your regional Documentation Centre.