Supplies for 180,000 civilians trapped under the rule of jihadi factions in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta may soon enter the area, the Middle East director of UNICEF said during a press conference.
According to Geert Cappelaere, the Syrian government have expressed intent to allow a humanitarian convoy to enter Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, March 4th.
“We have an indication from the government of Syria that an aid convoy will be allowed in on March 4, that is the day after tomorrow. We hope that indication turns into a bold commitment,” he said, confirming that the UN is ready to provide necessary supplies.
The previous time a humanitarian convoy entered Eastern Ghouta was February, 14th.
The situation in Eastern Ghouta has become the latest flashpoint in the Syrian crisis after the government troops launched an offensive against the armed opposition groups entrenched in the area. The militants responded by shelling residential areas of Damascus with mortars, killing dozens of civilians.
The major factions present in Eastern Ghouta are Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the latter being excluded from the de-escalation zones agreement as a terror group.
To ensure the security of civilians, the Syrian authorities have created a humanitarian corridor and introduced a daily ceasefire lasting from 9:00 to 14:00. During this period the local citizens will be able to safely exit the area and receive medical assistance at the centres created in co-operation with the Syrian Red Crescent Society.
Previously, the SAA began to evacuate civilians from Hazrama and Nashabiya neighbourhoods of Eastern Ghouta after they had been liberated from the militants. Several thousands people were able to leave the area via humanitarian corridors.
Despite the efforts of the Syrian government, the militants continued to hinder the evacuation process by shelling Damascus and preventing civilians from leaving the area.
On Thursday, several families trying to leave Eastern Ghouta have been detained by the militants near Al-Hal market in Douma district. It is believed that Jaysh al-Islam group, who controls Douma and the adjacent area, stands behind the detainment.