Syria: Eastern Ghouta on brink of disaster

November 17, 2017

The bombing of Eastern Ghouta has intensified in the last two days. An area under siege for four years is now on the brink of disaster. Civilians are suffering from malnutrition, lack of access to medical care, and violence.

Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus, has been under siege by the Assad government and its allies since 2013. Over the past year, the Assad coalition has intensified the siege by capturing arable land, cutting smuggling routes, and halting all commercial deliveries through the only remaining checkpoint. As a result, acute malnutrition is spreading. A number of people, particularly infants and young children, have died due to the lack of medical care. In the past two and a half weeks there has been a notable increase in the level of violent attacks on civilians, and these attacks have spiked in the past few days. Schools, hospitals, homes, and first responders have all been targeted in airstrikes and shelling, and there has been rampant use of internationally-banned cluster munitions.

Due to this rapidly deteriorating situation, Siege Watch, a joint initiative of PAX and The Syria Institute, has raised the siege level of all towns in Eastern Ghouta to Tier 1 (see map) – the highest intensity level in our classification system. It is the first time since the launch of the Siege Watch project in late 2015 that all of the towns of Eastern Ghouta have been designated at Tier 1 level sieges.

The besieged enclave is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster unless urgent action is taken by the international community to stop the attacks, evacuate those in urgent need of medical care and secure access of goods and humanitarian aid.

Read more about the besieged communities in Eastern Ghouta using the interactive map on the Siege Watch project website.

Follow Siege Watch on Twitter for frequent updates:

The 8th quarterly Siege Watch Report will be published in mid-December. See here for Siege Watch #7.

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