October 23, 2017
For nearly four years, the people of eastern Ghouta in Rural Damascus have been enduring intense suffering as a result of the suffocating siege the Assad regime and Iranian terrorist militias laid on the area in a crime against humanity that continues right under the nose of the whole world. Their suffering is further increased by systematic, relentless artillery and aerial bombardment mainly by Russian air forces.
Over 350,000 civilians trapped in eastern Ghouta suffer hunger, disease, and lack of essential services. Aid groups of the Syrian Interim Government and civil society groups operating in the area are unable to meet the needs of the local population or provide them with basic necessities and services. The lack of medical supplies has caused the health status of thousands of patients to further deteriorate, while many have died of illness and hunger.
The intense aerial and artillery bombardment have destroyed around 40 hospitals and clinics in the area, which is home to tens of thousands of displaced persons, including over 5,000 disabled people and 16,000 orphans. Of considerable concern is the lack of tuberculosis and measles vaccines, medicines for children, heart diseases, tuberculosis, hypertension as well as surgical equipment, including most notably anesthetic drugs and dialysis equipment. Moreover, around 252 critically ill patients need to be urgently evacuated to outside eastern Ghouta for treatment.
The people of eastern Ghouta, of whom more than 18,000 have been killed, including about 6,000 children and women, and against whom the massacre of the century was committed when the Assad regime forces bombed the area with chemical weapons on August 21, 2013 without evoking any response from the international community appeal to the world to urgently take action to put an end to the tragedy unfolding in the area. They express fear that the situation in eastern Ghouta will become the new norm and even further aggravate.
The international community, especially the UN Security Council, is obliged to shoulder its responsibilities to put an end to the ongoing suffering of civilians in the area and take action to ensure that the siege on eastern Ghouta and all other besieged areas across Syria is immediately lifted.