The Latest Developments in Eastern Ghouta

The regime, supported by Russian forces, and in total violation of UN Security Council resolution 2401 which called for the implementation of a ceasefire, the provision of aid to #Ghouta, and the evacuation of the sick, has begun a ground military offensive with two aims:

_ Control of the agricultural areas surrounding the besieged residential areas.

_ Division of #EasternGhouta into individual towns and zones to force each of them to come to a separate agreement (if that is even available).

According to news reports, the regime has succeeded in taking over parts of the towns of Shifoniya, Beit Sawa, Al-Reihan, Misraba, and Madira (these are mostly agricultural areas which provided most of the inadequate food supply of the besieged area). This is a grave threat to the food security of the areas.

The regime has also succeeded in dividing Ghouta into three areas – the #Douma area, the #Harasta area and the central area. Harasta is the smallest of these areas geographically but it is now densely populated. There are approximately 5500 families, most of them living either in homes or underground cellars. These areas are in danger of being overrun by the regime.

The central area and the Douma area are in danger of intense bombardment which occurs daily on the cities and towns of these areas.

The regime has recently announced its willingness to negotiate with each town in the area separately. The danger of this has now become apparent. The regime has offered the people of Hamouriya evacuation in buses to northern Syria without any international or UN guarantee. This means that they are in danger of detention at checkpoints or even being executed in the field.

They could also be forcibly drafted into the same regime army which besieged them and bombed them and they could end up being forced to violate human rights in other parts of #Syria for the regime. We are now facing this situation in Harasta and Hamouriya and will soon be facing it in Saqba and other areas of the central part of East Ghouta.

Everyone who in the past few years have tried to save the lives of people in Ghouta, such as doctors, first responders, the civil defence, local council members and people working for humanitarian and relief agencies and other civil society groups as well as all those who tried to send the voice of Ghouta to the world, such as photographers and journalists are today in the gravest danger of death if they are forced to evacuate without guarantees from the الأمم المتحدة and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.