The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
'Like the end of the world': Aid groups report on horrors of Eastern Ghouta bombardment Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

'Like the end of the world': Aid groups report on horrors of Eastern Ghouta bombardment

'Children have never experienced so much fear' [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 February, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
'Children are dying by the hour': Aid groups warn of unprecedented levels of bombardment in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
Humanitarian aid groups have warned of the horrors faced by thousands of children trapped in Eastern Ghouta, as the Syrian regime continues its relentless siege of the opposition-held area, which has killed nearly 200 people in the past 24 hours.

The bombardment over the past 48 hours has reached unprecedented levels, according to Save the Children, with the extent of destruction surpassing that of the Aleppo crisis in 2016, the charity warned, calling for more attention and outrage from the international community.

The group said that over 350,000 civilians remain trapped in the area, over 4,000 of whom now live in underground basements and shelters and spend most of their days hiding from the unrelenting bombing and shelling campaign.

Syrian regime warplanes targeted four hospitals and a maternity unit on Monday, said the charity, warning of heightened levels of disease due to extremely limited access to water, sanitation, ventilation systems or medical care.

"The situation is really awful. The planes haven’t stopped for a second throughout the entire night. I went out early to get a bag of bread this morning. There is only one bakery open in all of Ghouta and there were more than 500 men waiting so I couldn’t get any," said a spokesperson from Syria Relief, a partner of Save the Children. 

"Children have never experienced this much fear. All night you could hear crying, scared children. Their mothers are living in horror, they didn’t get any sleep last night. Ghouta yesterday was full of darkness, there wasn’t a bulb on, there was no light anywhere."

Syria Relief's footage shows a young boy searching through the rubble of his home for family
possessions [Syria Relief]

Syria Relief also published new video footage showing a young boy searching for family belongings among the the piles of rubble that cover the entirety of what used to be Eastern Ghouta's building and streets. 

"We were in the basement when we heard an explosion. We came the next day and we found our house destroyed. We started pulling our belongings from the rubble and we are still trying to do that until now," the boy explains.

Save the Children said that in one neighbourhood alone, satellite images show that 71 percent of buildings have been destroyed or damaged. In another neighbourhood, there has been no water or electricity for over two years.

"We were in the basement when we heard an explosion. We came the next day and we found our house destroyed. We started pulling our belongings from the rubble and we are still trying to do that until now." [Syria Relief]

"Some people flew out of their houses from the second or third floors (because of the force of explosions). There are women and children who flew out of their houses and landed on the ground, their bones completely broken," said an aid worker from Eastern Ghouta.

Save the Children have called on the UN Security Council to impose an immediate ceasefire and hold perpetrators of these atrocities to be held to account.
 
Save the Children’s Syria Response Director Sonia Khush said in the statement: "The situation is absolutely abhorrent. The bombing has been relentless, and children are dying by the hour. These families have nowhere left to run – they are boxed in and being pounded day and night.

"We urgently need a ceasefire so that the killing and maiming stops. We also desperately need humanitarian access, so that food, medical supplies and shelter can be delivered to people who have borne the brunt of this horrific war that is getting worse every day,” she added. 

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More