Renewed violence as Red Cross delivers aid to Syria's Ghouta

Pauline Gross
March 10, 2018

On Friday, an emergency aid convoy crossed front lines into eastern Ghouta and delivered its supplies.

Syria's army is poised to slice rebel-held eastern Ghouta in two as forces advancing from the east link up with troops at its western edge, a pro-Damascus commander said on Thursday.

ICRC regional director Robert Mardini tweeted that the convoy was "taken aback by renewed violence", adding that "we call on warring sides for an immediate humanitarian pause to allow" the ICRC, the United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams to deliver vital aid to people in eastern Ghouta.

"We were taken aback by the fighting that broke out despite guarantees from the parties involved in this conflict that humanitarians could enter Douma, in eastern Ghouta", said ICRC regional director Robert Mardini.

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UNHCR said seven years of fighting have cost hundreds of thousands of lives, driven 6.1 million people from their homes inside Syria, and forced 5.6 million refugees to seek safety in neighboring countries in the region. Rebels, who accuse the government of "scorched earth" tactics, said they were deploying more guerrilla-style ambushes in lost territory, trying to stop further advances. Around 900 people have been killed in the past three weeks of relentless bombardment. In many cases, rebel enclaves have surrendered in deals that allowed them and their families, along with civilians who did not wish to come back under Assad's rule, to depart for other opposition areas. Data was collected from the evenings of February 18 to March 3.

The Observatory reported airstrikes on Douma and Jisreen just before the 13-truck convoy arrived Friday, following a hourslong lull.

But Wael Alwan, the Istanbul-based spokesman for Failaq al-Rahman, one of the main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta, denied that the territory had been cut in half.

Other reports by GizPress

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