On Friday, shortly after an emergency aid convoy of thirteen trucks carrying food packages crossed into the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the airstrikes and shelling in the proximity of Douma have resumed after a pause in the government’s bombardment overnight, putting the convoy at risk.
So far, in less than two weeks, with more than 1,000 people killed in the fierce offensive as the Syrian army heavily progresses in regaining possession of almost all the farmland in the besieged rebel enclave, the civilians in Eastern Ghouta have been trapped in underground shelters in need of food and water. What’s more, they face the dilemma of whether to go and risk their lives to find supplies or stay inside. Moayad al-Hafi, a civilian man in the town of Saqba, described the scenes in which the civilians have been facing:
People were hopeful after the bombardment decreased and went out onto the streets. But, then airstrikes began again, and there are still people under the rubble that we couldn’t get out.
With more than 400,000 people living in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the shortage of food and water have caused deprivation among its citizens in which, according to Bilal Abu Salah, a resident of Douma, “entire families eat one meal in several days.”
As a result, the U.N. aid agencies have been pleading with the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, to halt its airstrikes and bombardment to allow access for aids to unload its supplies properly without being forced to leave early because of their assault.
Although the Syrian government and Russia’s military have both said that they have opened a safe route out of the enclave, unsurprisingly, none of its inhabitants have left, and both parties have blamed the rebels of preventing them from fleeing. However, the rebels deny this, saying that the inhabitants have not left because they fear persecution once they cross into government territory.