An aid worker in the besieged Syrian region of eastern Ghouta has spoken of the anguish and hopelessness felt by many trapped by airstrikes and unable to escape, saying it is a “wholesale slaughter witnessed by a motionless world.”
Ghouta, a region bordering the capital, Damascus, has been targeted by government forces since 2013 as part of the Syrian civil war in an effort to flush out rebel and opposition forces garrisoned in the area. The government launched an operation to retake rebel-held areas of Ghouta in February, ramping up a bombing campaign and blocking medical help and food from entering the region.
Amnesty International claims more than 500 civilians have been killed in recent months in a “catastrophic humanitarian situation,” while thousands more have been injured. The Syrian Network for Human Rights, based in Britain, claimed in a February report that nearly 13,000 people had been killed in the region since 2011. Hospitals, schools and places of worship are among the buildings that have been damaged by bombings.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said last month that the 400,000 people trapped in eastern Ghouta were living “in hell on earth,” as the U.N. unanimously voted in support of a 30-day ceasefire in Syria and the lifting of the siege on Ghouta. However, calls for a cease-fire have been ignored ― indeed, reports claimed more than 100 were killed in the week following the resolution.
Abdelkarim Ibrahim, an aid worker partnered with Save the Children, is working in eastern Ghouta to distribute winter kits to civilians. Through a translator, he told HuffPost of the “hysterical panic” experienced by people trapped in the region in the face of “constant airstrikes, barrel bombs and artillery...