Basements in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta are overflowing as residents seek shelter from the non-stop bombing and shelling. Despite a U.N. ceasefire, there have been precious few lulls in the attacks by Syrian government troops and their Russian allies.
CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.
The Al-Wafideen crossing is one of two humanitarian corridors that the Syrian government has set up in coordination with Russia. The aim is to allow civilians out of Eastern Ghouta.
The rebel-held suburb of Damascus has been the target of a relentless military campaign since February 18. Since then, the Syrian Army has taken control over roughly half of the area, dividing it into three separate parts. The army said it could force the rebels to allow civilians to evacuate, although not if the rebels use civilians as human shields, as the government claims.
The rebels said three weeks of air and artillery attacks have left more than 1,000 civilians dead inside Ghouta. On Monday, the largest rebel faction in Ghouta, the Army of Islam, said in a statement that it reached an agreement with Russia – through the UN – to allow the sick and wounded out of Eastern Ghouta. But, government sources tell CGTN the deal is not yet final.
The battle for Eastern Ghouta is becoming the largest conflict in the nearly eight-year-old civil war. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the death toll for both sides of the war at over 350,000. Many experts and journalists inside Syria said the number could be much higher.