Thousands flee Eastern Ghouta in largest single-day exodus

March 16, 2018 | By | Reply More

Thousands of civilians have fled the besieged Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, in what is believed to be the largest exodus in one day in the country’s seven-year war, as deadly air strikes continue.

Thousands flee Eastern Ghouta in largest single-day exodusFaced with the prospect of more deadly government bombardments, thousands of civilians abandoned the town of Hamouriyah, which has been at the centre of fighting between rebels and military forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 41 civilians, including at least six children, were killed in air strikes in the Kafr Batna district on Friday morning.

As the attacks continue, an estimated 2,000 people more people left the rebel-held area on Friday morning, according to the Russian defence ministry.

Earlier on Friday, it was reported that between 12,000 and 13,000 people have fled the area east of Damascus overnight and into Friday morning.

Grabbing what they could carry and loading it into their vehicles, desperate civilians streamed out of their homes, fleeing to areas controlled by the government.

Images posted online showed elderly women in wheelchairs and children carried by their parents as they walked amid the ruins.

Once controlled by rebels, Hamouriyah is now being surrounded by government forces.

“There is no water, no medicine that could provided to our children, not even food,” an evacuee said.

SOHR said as many as 20,000 people have abandoned their homes, with many still waiting to be transported to safe zones.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Gaziantep in Turkey, said the exodus was expected after the Syrian forces cut off supplies.

After nearly four weeks of relentless bombardment, which has left more than 1,250 civilians including children dead, government forces are inching closer to capturing the rest of the enclave, forcing civilians to flee. Regime forces have already split the enclave, under siege since 2013, into three sections.

Rebels, however, claimed that they have retaken Hamouriyah, one of the districts in Eastern Ghouta.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

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Category: Arab uprising

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