In the third week of the assault on Ghouta, an opposition enclave in Damascus' suburbs, by the regime and its main backers, namely Iran and Russia, more aerial strikes shook the city, while the ground forces have split the densely populated city into three with the aim of cutting the road links. The situation in the city, which has already been suffering from the years of besiegement and, therefore, a lack of food, clean water and medical supplies, has gone from bad to worse.
During the recent airstrikes, more civilians died. Although agencies reported that recently more than 50 people were killed, the residents say the actual number is unknown, as the corpses under the rubble of the ruined buildings remain undiscovered since the civil defense units are unable to carry out any work.
A rescue worker told Agence France-Press (AFP) there were at least 20 families trapped under the rubble after the recent strikes. "We need heavy machinery to get them out, but we can't bring the machines out into the streets because the regime may bomb them," he said.
"In the main town of Douma, 17 bodies were pulled from the rubble Sunday evening, according to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), adding to the corpses piling up in the morgue as bombardment prevented families from reaching the cemetery, AFP correspondents there said. Families grew desperate for news of loved ones who had fled to other areas that were now inaccessible," the AFP report said.
Moreover, there are almost no fully functioning medical facilities in the city, while the regime strips aid convoys of medical equipment. As a result, the death toll increases, though many wounded could have been saved had the main medical supplies existed. Despite the international appeals and denouncements, the regime and Russia continue to pound civilian areas with barrel bombs and chemical weapons. Many have died of suffocation as a result of the use of chlorine gas.
Syrian state TV said forces on the ground divided the enclave into two, attempting to cause a major setback to the opposition groups, yet ignoring the fact that the operation deteriorates the already dire humanitarian situation.
"A military media outlet linked to the Syrian army and its Lebanese allies, the militant group Hezbollah, said the pro-government forces that broke through rebel lines to establish a corridor through the besieged eastern Ghouta region after capturing the town of Mudeira. The advance cuts off the towns of Douma and Harasta from the rest of the enclave, according to the Central Military Media outlet. Douma is eastern Ghouta's largest settlement," an Associated Press (AP) report wrote.
A local council of the enclave said the situation was catastrophic. In spite of that, the idea of evacuating the city initially refused, is now being considered seriously.
"The idea of leaving was refused outright at first, but now with the regime's advances and the tightening siege, there are negotiations about something along those lines," local council member, Iyad Abdelaziz told AP in a voice message.
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