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  3. Eastern Ghouta to be a new Aleppo
Eastern Ghouta to be a new Aleppo

Eastern Ghouta to be a new Aleppo

In Syria, hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in East Ghouta due to the continuous bombing carrying out by pro-regime forces since last Sunday.

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Thousands of casualties and civilian patients in an emergency are waiting to be evacuated, while the number of killed civilians increases every hour in the Syrian regime's attacks in Eastern Ghouta.

While the region with a population of about 400,000 has been under siege of the Ba'ath regime since 2013, the ongoing air and land bombardments cause civilians to lose their lives, especially women and children. People are taking shelter in basements due to bombardment, but they are deprived of even their basic needs.

The settlements in Eastern Ghouta have recently been exposed to the conscious attacks carrying out by the pro-Syrian regime and Russians forces in order to browbeat the people in there. The UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory says that since mid-November, there has been an air and land attack on East Ghouta thousands of times.

More than a thousand of civilian lost their lives in recent attacks

Hundreds of barrels bombs have been dropped into the region in about 500 air attacks in the past week. During the recent attacks, more than a thousand civilians lost their lives, at least 4,000 people were injured. Thousands of houses have been completely destroyed in the region and thousands of houses have been damaged in heavy or medium scale, according to the United Nations' review of satellite images in December.

Ghouta is located in the south of Damascus and is a convenient agricultural, extends from east to west. Some towns of Damascus and the towns outside the capital are located in the Ghouta region. People living in Ghouta participated in demonstrations against the Assad government in 2011, then the civil war that erupted in the country and Ghouta had become an important center for opponents. Starting in 2012, the Syrian regime, which began to besiege Ghouta settlements, massacred hundreds of people in the region by using sarin gas in 2013.

The Syrian regime is implementing the "leave hunger and surrender" strategy

In the last three years of the civil war, while the sieges in the Eastern Ghouta region were tightened, humanitarian assistance to the region was reduced, and bombardments continued to increase. The United Nations condemns the Syrian regime's decision to "leave hunger and surrender" as it is not a humanitarian strategy.

Thousands of families in East Ghouta have acquired their food supplies through tunnels that connect the region to other parts of Damascus, just as it has been in Palestine for years. Some of the merchants were also bringing food materials to the region with the bribes given to the commanders of the Syrian regime. Last year, however, Syrian regime closed most of the tunnels and brought limits to the traders to enter into the siege zones.

The "Assistance Initiative" a non-governmental organization in contact with the people of the region to convey developments on humanitarian assistance is reporting that even a single commercial vehicle was not allowed to enter Eastern Ghouta during September-November 2017.

The UN says that the price of a loaf of bread in East Ghouta is 22 times higher than the average in Syria. 12 percent of children under the age of 5 are experiencing problems based on malnutrition. Talking to the Assistance Initiative, people in East Ghouta say they have been struggling for days without eating anything.

Assad regime attacked orphanage in Eastern Ghouta

Access to health care is also extremely low due to siege and bombardment. As of last month, there were only 29 clinics, hospitals and health clinics in the area. However, as of Sunday, 14 medical centers were closed due to bombardment.

An orphanage, which the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation and the Kuwait Beyt az-Zakat Institution were caring for, also targeted by air strikes of the Assad regime. A teacher was wounded in an attack, and a girl lost her life.

"There was no casualty in the previous attack while the bomb dropped to the garden of the orphanage and the orphans were taken to the shelters before the aircrafts attacked. We have made the orphanage reusable by removing the material damage in a short time," said Erhan Yemelek, IHH Syrian Studies Coordinator.

Stating that the orphanage has become completely unusable in the final air strikes, Yemelek said, "We had 50 orphans in this orphanage. We have transferred our orphans to a partly safer area because the regime forces keep bombarding the East Ghouta with regardless of specific targets. Shortly after the transfer, an air attack on orphanage took place and our orphanage became completely unusable."

East Ghouta is going to be a new Aleppo

At this point, many critically ill people need to be evacuated out of East Ghouta and referred to hospitals. At the end of December, 29 people were evacuated but the UN announced that 22 of those people had lost their lives while they were on leave.

It is worrying that East Ghouta is also facing of massacres like in Aleppo in 2016 and that many civilians lose their lives. The White Helmets organization wants the international community to do something about stopping this genocide. The organization described the situation, as "This is a new Srebrenica".

Russia objected to the UNSC drafting a humanitarian ceasefire

On the other hand, Russia objected to the draft UNSC drafting a one-month humanitarian ceasefire in Syria at the United Nations Security Council. Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia stated that they would not support the "design with no compromise" and would suggest some changes. In the bill, a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire is requested in Syria to enter into force within 72 hours if it is accepted in the UNSC and to start humanitarian aid and medical evacuations in the next 48 hours. Nebenzia claims that there is a fight to "terrorists" regarding the massacre in Eastern Ghouta.

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