At least 15 people were killed and wounded in eastern Ghouta in escalating bombardment by the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias on the besieged Damascus suburb on Friday.
Local activists said that the victims included six civilians who were killed in heavy rocket shelling by the Assad forces and their allied-foreign militias on the town of Harasta.
Two civilians, one of them a child, were also killed in artillery shelling by the Assad regime forces on the town of Hammouriya in eastern Ghouta.
For over two months, most towns and villages in eastern Ghouta have been subjected to rocket and artillery shelling by the Assad forces and their allied foreign militias, media outlets in the rebel-held area reported. The bombardment has caused widespread destruction to civilian homes and left hundreds of civilian casualties.
Eastern Ghouta has been under suffocating siege by regime forces and their allied foreign militias for nearly five years. Civilians trapped inside, especially children, suffer severe shortages of food and medical supplies amid deteriorating health conditions in the rebel-held area.
Medical sources in the area warned that 195 children are threatened with imminent death from chronic diseases such as rickets, hepatitis, tuberculosis as well as from lack of necessary vaccines.
The United Nations’ requests for medical evacuations and humanitarian access were rejected by the Assad regime, which led to the death of at least 13 children due to lack of medical and food supplies.
In western Ghouta, meanwhile, the Assad regime forced the residents of the town of Beit Jinn to leave their homes and leave for Idlib and Dara’a provinces in the wake of a brutal bombing campaign on the area located southwest of Damascus. Activists reported that over 500 people were forced to leave, noting out that the town was reduced to rubble as a result of intensive bombardment with indiscriminate and internationally banned weapons. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition accused the Assad regime and Russia of seeking to impose their own vision of a solution in Syria through their escalating attacks on Syrian civilians, particularly the recent bombing campaign on Idlib province.
“Despite the recent flurry of calls, debates and discussions about political solution here and there, the Assad regime, backed by its Russian ally, is seeking to impose a de facto situation on the ground through its criminal policy of barrel bombing, killing, displacement and siege,” said the Coalition in a press release issued on Thursday.
The Coalition underscored that “the escalating bombing campaign being carried out by the Russian occupation jets and the Assad regime helicopters for about a week on towns and villages of rural Idlib continues in parallel with attempts by regime forces and their allied-foreign militias to advance on the region from the south.”
“Initial counts indicated that the aerial attacks claimed the lives of at least 18 civilians on Thursday (December 28). The bombing campaign has killed dozens of civilians, including women and children, and wounded hundreds more since it began a week ago. Hundreds of airstrikes and barrel bomb attacks by the Russian and Assad regime warplanes have hit towns and villages of eastern and southern rural Idlib,” the Coalition added.
The Coalition went on: “The ongoing onslaught on Idlib has clearly shown that sabotaging the political process has been the Assad regime and its allies’ strategic choice since the very beginning. The international community cannot expect any change in this strategy unless it takes a wholly different position, exert real pressure on the regime and its allies, and begins to adopt a new strategy that corresponds with the size of its responsibilities and the recent developments on the ground.”
The Coalition concluded its press release by stressing that “the inability of the international community to protect Syrian civilians and its failure to maintain peace and security in Syria and its choosing to watch idly by the regime’s endless crimes make it equally responsible for these crimes. The international community’s continued silence also represents a nod of approval for the escalating campaign on Idlib, which will have dire consequences for political solution.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)