First Published: 2018-03-14

Second day of medical evacuations begins in Syria's Ghouta
UN has called for urgent medical evacuations for more than 1,000 people who are in desperate need of treatment unavailable in besieged enclave.
Middle East Online

DOUMA - A second day of medical evacuations from Syria's Eastern Ghouta got underway on Wednesday, with dozens more civilians expected to be taken out of the besieged rebel enclave.

The United Nations has called for urgent medical evacuations for more than 1,000 people who are in desperate need of treatment unavailable in the enclave.

Medical evacuations from Ghouta's largest town of Douma began on Tuesday under a deal with the rebel faction which controls it, and more sick and wounded were taken out on Wednesday.

A Syrian Arab Red Crescent official in Damascus, which has facilitated the evacuations, confirmed a new operation had begun on Wednesday.

Inside Douma, dozens of people awaiting evacuation gathered at a Red Crescent centre early on Wednesday.

Among them was 18-year-old Omran, who was severely wounded two years ago in bombardment of Ghouta. He lost his left leg, right arm and left eye.

A high-ranking member of Jaish al-Islam, the rebel group that controls Douma, confirmed that new evacuations were taking place.

"Today, people with medical conditions will be evacuated for treatment," Yasser Dalwan said.

"They are all civilians. There are around 35 people, along with their companions."

State television aired footage of Red Crescent ambulances leaving Ghouta and entering government-held territory.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution last month calling for a 30-day truce to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations from Ghouta.

Such evacuations in Syria have typically seen people taken out of a besieged area for care, and then returned after treatment.

On Tuesday, around 150 people were transported out of Douma in the first civilian evacuation from the enclave since government forces launched a devastating offensive on February 18.


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