Eastern Ghouta: Largest exodus in one day

More than 20,000 people have left their homes in Hamouriyah as the brutal bombardment of the rebel enclave amid the latest round of peace talks start in Astana. The town has been the centre of the fight between regime forces and rebels. People are fearing the offensive to continue and are desperately streaming out of the area to safer areas under governmental control.

Elderly women in wheelchairs and children could be seen carrying everything they could as they left the besieged enclave. Many are still in transit and waiting to reach safe zones. The exodus was expected as the government had cut off major supplies. More than 1250 people have died including children as the government forces move closer to complete capture of the enclave which has already been split into three sections. Rebels, on the other hand, have claimed to wrestle back Hamouriyah back from the government.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had allowed passage of 25 aid trucks which carried food but did not include any medical supplies.

Eastern Ghouta is said to be the last stronghold of rebels and has been under siege since mid-2013. As the Syrian battlefield entered its 8th consecutive year, Eastern Ghouta has emerged as the primary battleground. The 8 years have resulted in the killing of over 500,000 people and displacement of nearly 11 million.

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