As the Syrian army advances towards Idlib, at least 16 people were killed and several injured on Saturday in a bombardment targeting East Ghouta.
Syrian artillery fire hit a market in the main East Ghouta town of Douma and the towns of Hammuriyeh, Arbeen and al-Marj.
“Nine people were killed, including a woman, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Another six were killed in the other attacks.
The Unicef representative in Syria, Fran Equiza, released a statement addressing the situation in East Ghouta. “It is shocking that only in the first 14 days of the year more than 30 children have been killed in escalating violence in East Ghouta, where an estimated 200,000 children have been trapped under siege since 2013,” the statement read.
“Unicef received information from inside East Ghouta that people are taking shelter underground in fear for their lives. One particular heavy attack on residential buildings was so strong it reportedly injured 80 civilians including children and women. Medical personnel struggled to pull survivors out of the rubble.”
Some 500 people are currently in a critical condition and need to be evacuated for urgent medical treatment, according to UN.
East Ghouta – though chosen last year as one of four “de-escalation zones” – has been under government siege since 2013. It is estimated 400,000 inhabitants are suffering severe shortages of food and medicine.
Photo credit: @Ahmad36120, Twitter.