An aid convoy planned for Thursday to bring assistance to besieged civilians in besieged eastern Ghouta will not go through, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. The announcement came as regime forces and Russian air forces further stepped up the onslaught on the Damascus suburb.
“The convoy for today is postponed, as the situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn’t allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions,” ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky told AFP.
The joint convoy between the ICRC, United Nations, and Syrian Arab Red Crescent was expected to deliver aid to eastern Ghouta’s main town of Douma on Thursday.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), food and medical aid was supposed to meet the needs of some 70,000 out of 400,000 civilians trapped in eastern Ghouta.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Rahman Mustafa said that the Assad regime’s blocking of the introduction of aid aims to put increasing pressure on the population and force them to surrender.
Towns and villages of eastern Ghouta have come under heavy bombardment since the early morning hours of Thursday. Regime forces bombed the towns of Hammouriya and Saqba with chlorine gas, resulting in the asphyxiation of about 124 people, mostly children and women.
Activists published photos of the aerial bombardments in which the white phosphorous was used as well as videos showing children being treated at a medical center after they suffered asphyxiation.
Heavy bombardment by regime forces on the town of Douma and the surrounding areas forced a UN aid convoy to return back last week without unloading all its load of aid. Out of 46 trucks loaded with aid, only 14 were unloaded. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)