White Helmets: Over 1,300 Civilians Killed in Damascus Suburbs in 2017
As many as 1,337 civilians were killed and 9,123 more were wounded in besieged Eastern Ghouta district in attacks by regime forces in 2017, the Syrian Civil Defense Corps said. The rescue group published figures of the victims its members helped and figures detailing the attacks on the rebel-held area in 2017.
According to a report the volunteer rescue group, also known as the White Helmets, published on Tuesday, the victims included 12 of its staff members and 82 civil defense volunteers. The report indicated that regime forces committed no fewer than 32 massacres in the towns and villages of eastern Ghouta during the reporting period.
The White Helmets pointed out that Assad forces bombed eastern Ghouta with up to 403 airstrikes, 7,325 artillery shells, 402 surface-to-surface missiles, and 16 barrel bombs. It also said that regime forces used the internationally banned cluster bombs in 106 attacks and toxic chlorine in one attack.
Assad regime jets and heavy artillery hit seven civil defense centers in 2017, the report said. It added that civil defense teams carried out 2011 rescue operations and transferred 9,123 injured people to hospitals and medical centers as well as extinguished 508 fires.
Some 400,000 civilians currently trapped in eastern Ghouta live in tragic conditions as a result of the crippling siege and relentless bombardment by Assad forces which has been ongoing for years. Regime forces and their allied foreign militias have further tightened the siege on the area since the spring of 2017 and have since then blocked the introduction of all food and medical supplies.
The White Helmets was established in 2012 to help victims of the Assad regime attacks on civilian areas. The organization received several international awards and was nominated by foreign and Syrian activists for the 2016 Nobel Prize.
The volunteer group has 150 centers distributed across all the liberated areas in Syria. It carries out search and rescue operations among the rubble of bombed buildings and extinguish fires caused by the Assad regime and its allies’ attacks. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)