Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that his country was ready to receive the sick wounded from the eastern Ghouta area in the Damascus suburbs. Two French doctors urged French President Aménoule Macaron to work to help evacuate the critically sick and wounded from the besieged areas as soon as possible.
President Erdoğan on Sunday said that Turkey was working with Russia to evacuate around 500 people from the besieged Damascus suburb. “There are around 500 people, including 170 children and women who need urgent humanitarian aid,” he said.
Erdoğan said he had discussed the issue with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Ankara aimed to bring people in need of assistance to Turkey to provide treatment and care.
The Russian and Turkish chiefs of staff would discuss the steps to be taken in operations that would also involve the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Organization (AFAD), Erdogan added.
Meanwhile, the French newspaper Libération on Friday published the text of an open letter sent by two French doctors to French President Emmanuel Macron sounding the alarm on the deteriorating situation in eastern Ghouta.
Doctors Ziad Alissa, president of UOSSM France and Raphael Pitti anesthetist-resuscitator, humanitarian doctor and administrator of UOSSM France medical charity urged the French president to press for the immediate evacuation of the sick and wounded and the delivery of medicine and food to civilians trapped inside.
The doctors warned that only a tiny amount of food and basic necessities is allowed into eastern Ghouta. Malnutrition and hunger have reached a critical point as was evidenced by the shocking images of skeletal infants and of children injured by the shelling, the doctors said.
Alissa and Pitti warned of a repeat of the scenario that took place in Aleppo last year when the world stood idly by as the centuries-old city was being reduced to rubble. They said that just like in 2016, the world is simply watching as eastern Ghouta is dying silently.
Since November 14, over 268 people have been killed and 1,432 more injured as a result of the intensified bombardment on the area.
Earlier in December, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria rebuked Russia and Iran for not doing more to give aid agencies access to eastern Ghouita.
Jan Egeland told the BBC the failure to persuade the Assad regime to allow desperately ill children to be evacuated from the besieged area showed “complete impotence.” He said that more than 130 children needing urgent medical treatment in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)