The local council in Dara’a called upon all aid organizations working in Syria to take urgent action to relieve civilians fleeing the city because of the intensified fighting between regime forces and the FSA fighters and due to the regime’s bombardment on the FSA-held parts of the city. Activists said that tens of thousands of civilians on Sunday had to flee their homes in Dara’a towards eastern and western rural Dara’a to escape the relentless bombardment by regime forces who are pounding the city with rockets.
The local council said that women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities account for 70% to 80% of the total number of civilians fleeing Dara’a city. The regime shelling has left dozens of civilian casualties and caused massive destruction to civilian homes. Regime forces are using what local residents call “elephant rockets,” which are known for their high destructive ability.
Mohammad Masalma, head of the local council in Dara’a, said that the majority of families who fled towards rural areas and farmlands surrounding the city have to face difficult living conditions, especially lack of blankets, shelter, relief aid, basic foodstuffs, and hygiene kits. The newly displaced people are out of the reach of humanitarian groups as they mostly sought shelter close to the Syrian-Jordanian border.
Local sources said that an estimated 950 families fled Dara’a city in the last 24 hours. While some of them went to live with their relatives in rural Dara’a, the rest were forced to seek shelter in the farmlands surrounding the city and are having to face severe weather conditions.
This is the second time Dara’a city witnesses an exodus of civilians. In June and July of 2015, civilians had to flee the city en masse in the wake of relentless bombardment by regime forces who launched a campaign with hundreds of airstrikes and barrel bombs hitting the residential neighborhoods in the FSA-held parts of the city. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Inab Baladi Newspaper)