Eastern Ghouta: The Blockade Continues

More than 400,000 individuals are caught in the blockade of Eastern Ghouta, which has been under attack since 2013. The government imposed blockade of Eastern Ghouta has affected millions of individuals.

Since the attack started, many individuals in the rural area have died due to food and medicinal shortages as a result of the “siege and starve” strategy. Whilst NGO’s have attempted to bring aid to the civilians in Ghouta, there remains a significant lack of essential medical equipment.  A doctor in a medical center in East Ghouta remarked that ‘there is an absence of professional hardware. There are no serialization devices, there is no fuel to run the machines.‘  Another doctor, Abu Yahya, said that ‘many youngsters are experiencing headaches, vision issues, depression and mental issues.‘  An estimated 400 civilians, including 206 children, have died due to starvation and lack of medicine arising from the Syrian’s administration blockade of East Ghouta.  In addition to the rising cost of what little food is available, residents trapped in Eastern Ghouta have also been compelled to cook with firewood because of the absence of gas.

The government tightened the blockade in March last year by shutting the al-Wafideen checkpoint, the last entrance into the city. Shockingly, circumstances have deteriorated further since May, after government powers took control of the Barzeh and Qaboun neighborhoods in north eastern Damascus. Road networks in these areas were previously used for carrying supplies into East Ghouta.

De-Escalation Zones:

Ghouta is one of four ‘de-escalation’ zones assigned under a prearrangement facilitated by Russia, Iran and Turkey to decrease the violence in Syria.  In direct contravention of the deal, the government has proceeded with attacks on Eastern Ghouta, causing the ongoing agony of a huge number of innocent civilians.  Assad has asserted his authority by surrounding the area and upholding the blockade. He has kept the dissident held regions under an undeniably tight blockade in Eastern Ghouta, preventing ordinary citizens from escaping or receiving any aid.

People living under the blockade are dependent on wells for unfiltered and untreated drinking water that is acquired from manual pumps.  The cost of 1kg (2.2lb) of bread has dramatically risen to a current value of $5.50 (£4.10), forcing most families to manage with only one daily meal.

Ingy Sedky, the International Committee of the Red Cross representative in Syria, stated: “Be it in Eastern Ghouta Blockade or somewhere else in Syria, anomaly of access can influence the circumstances to break down rapidly.  Regardless of how much food we can get into one convoy, it won’t support the populace for over a month. This is the reason NGOs ought to have the capacity to approach all the time.”  The UN high chief for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, portrayed the blockade of eastern Ghouta as an “outrage” a month ago.

Elizabeth Hoff, the World Health Organization agent in Syria, stated: “The circumstance of Eastern Ghouta Blockade is disastrous. For a considerable length of time, the general population of eastern Ghouta have been subjected to managed hardship, supplies on humanitarian access and human rights violation.  We have now achieved a basic point where the lives of several individuals, including numerous kids, are in question in the areas affected by Eastern Ghouta Blockade. In the event that they don’t promptly get the medicinal care they require, they will undoubtedly die very soon.”

We are crying:

More than 800,000 Syrians now live under blockade.  Valerie Szybala, official executive of the Syria Institute commenting on the intensification of the Eastern Ghouta Blockade said “As of late, the absence of fundamental needs has turned out to be more intense since the government removed the restricted business exchange at al-Wafideen checkp

In addition to the government forced blockade, the circumstance is further confounded by internal war between the revolutionaries controlling Eastern Ghouta.  “Eastern Ghouta was tormented by war between armed groups,” said the most recent attack report from the Syria Institute and the Netherlands-based NGO, PAX. “The outcry from civilians in the form of protests and mediation initiatives had little success in stemming the simmering tensions, which are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”

After four years of living under a brutal blockade, discussion of de-escalation zones and aid convoys are meaningless to those who remain trapped. Numerous in Eastern Ghouta are watching their babies and children die.  “We are crying now, however we can’t do anything,” said local activist al-Mayeen.

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