Vision1 FM                       Light FM                         Light TV

Thousands flee Eastern Ghouta in largest single-day exodus

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 new round of peace talks open in Astana.



Faced with the prospect of more government bombardments, thousands of civilians abandoned the town of Hamouriyah, which has been at the centre of fighting between rebels and military forces.

Between 12,000 and 13,000 people have reportedly fled the area east of Damascus overnight and into Friday, according to news reports.

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.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (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.
Between 12,000 to 13,000 people have reportedly fled Eastern Ghouta as of Friday [Reuters]
No medical aid

Meanwhile, some 25 trucks of food aid were allowed into Eastern Ghouta's Douma district, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

It is unclear how long the food supply would last in an area believed to be populated with as many as 125,000.

The aid does not include medical supplies.

The entire Eastern Ghouta is home to 400,000 people, and it has been under a government siege since mid-2013.

The area is one of the last major remaining strongholds under the armed opposition, who are aiming to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The enclave is the current major battleground in Syria's war, which entered its eighth year on Thursday.

According to UNHCR figures, there have been nearly 500,000 people killed and over 11 million displaced in the war.

Meanwhile, dozens of Syrian civilians, including children, have been killed, as Turkish troops and its allied armed groups bombarded the city of Afrin in Syria's Kurdish region.

The Syrian Observatory, a monitoring group based in the UK, said on Friday that the continued push by Turkish forces into Afrin have forced as many as 30,000 civilians to flee since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, on Friday to continue negotiations on how to end the civil war in the Middle East country.

The agenda at the meeting also included how to maintain security in the established de-escalation zones as well as political and humanitarian issues.

The next round of talks is expected in the middle of May.


SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

More News..

Court case of Afoko to end in 2019 Court case of Afoko to end in 2019 2018-12-14 - LEAD COUNSEL for Gregory Afoko, Osafo Buabeng has assured the...
Killers of Prampram manklalo arrested Killers of Prampram manklalo arrested 2018-12-14 - Three persons have been arrested in connection with the murder...
Ghana receives $57m Japanese grant for N8 highway Ghana receives $57m Japanese grant for N8 highway 2018-12-14 - The Japanese government has given Ghana a grant of $57 million...
Small scale mining ban lifted by gov't. Small scale mining ban lifted by gov't. 2018-12-14 - Government has finally lifted the ban on  small-scale mining...
Mankralo of Prampram shot dead. Mankralo of Prampram shot dead. 2018-12-14 - The acting Mankralo of Prampram in the Greater Accra Region,...
Karim Alhassan, ex Hearts of Oak captain receives $300k from Zamalek Karim Alhassan, ex Hearts of Oak captain receives $300k from Zamalek 2018-12-14 - Former Hearts of Oak captain Karim Alhassan have been paid an...
First Atlantic Bank Donates Mother And Baby Unit To The Talensi District Hospital First Atlantic Bank Donates Mother And Baby Unit To The Talensi District Hospital 2018-12-14 - First Atlantic Bank has donated a fully equipped Mother and Baby...