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More than 105,000 civilians have 'fled Eastern Ghouta' amid Assad regime's 'apocalypse' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

More than 105,000 civilians have 'fled Eastern Ghouta' amid Assad regime's 'apocalypse'

The Syrian rebels' hold of Eastern Ghouta is now shrinking [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2018

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More than 105,000 civilians have escaped the shrinking rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta as Assad's crimes continue to destroy the suburb.
More than 105,000 civilians have escaped the shrinking rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Syria's capital that has been under regime attack for the past month, Syria's state news agency SANA said on Saturday.

SANA, citing a military source, said that "more than 105,000 civilians... exited Eastern Ghouta so far" but did not give additional details.

State television gave the same figure for those leaving Eastern Ghouta, whose population has been estimated at 400,000, and said they had exited through what it claims to be "humanitarian corridors" opened by Syrian troops, notorious for their crimes against civilians, including rape and torture during war.

This comes after the second-largest rebel group in Syria's Eastern Ghouta declared a ceasefire in order to negotiate leaving the opposition enclave, as rebels and their families begin to leave the area.

Failaq al-Rahman will abide by a ceasefire as of midnight on Thursday, Syrian pro-regime media and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.

The relentless Syrian regime assault backed by Russian air power that began last month has killed hundreds of people as airstrikes pounded residential areas where thousands had sheltered in basements across the densely populated enclave.

Regime induced ‘apocalypse’

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Tuesday that it has received several allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria's Eastern Ghouta enclave, though admitted a thorough investigation of the claims will be difficult.

"Our experts are looking at them, but clearly since this is an enclave, it's very difficult to have access to information and material," said the OPCW's director general. 

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights has said that chlorine was used as a toxic agent on villages during the government's offensive to retake rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights chief accused the brutal Assad regime of orchestrating an "apocalypse" that will strike elsewhere following the devastating crisis unfolding in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

In his annual report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Zeid Raad al-Hussein said the government's actions in the area were "legally and morally unsustainable", while warning the next nightmare for Syrian civilians would inevitably arrive soon.

"This month, it is Eastern Ghouta which is, in the words of the Secretary General, hell on earth; next month or the month after, it will be somewhere else where people face an apocalypse - an apocalypse intended, planned and executed by individuals within the government, apparently with the full backing of some of their foreign supporters," Zeid told the council.

Agencies contributed to this report

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