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UAE Press: Ensure safety of civilians in Ghouta




(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))

ABU DHABI, 23rd February, 2018 (WAM) -- The escalation of violence and its repercussions on the humanitarian situation and the safety of civilians in the Eastern region of Ghouta, Syria, is a huge cause for worry, a UAE newspaper has commented.

"The situation is worsening by the day and the world community cannot afford to remain a silent spectator anymore," said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Friday.

More than 360 people have already been killed in Ghouta district since Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. Distressingly, the dead are said to include 150 innocent children.

The paper continued, "There have been daily reports about civilians being killed and others being severely wounded, in addition to markets, hospitals and schools being damaged or destroyed. What is called for is an immediate end to hostilities so that the sick and wounded could be evacuated and humanitarian aid deliveries reach those in need.

"It should not be forgotten that Eastern Ghouta is part of a de-escalation agreement reached in Astana earlier. Since the Syrian government and its allies escalated their offensive in East Ghouta on February 4, there have been more than 1,200 civilian casualties, including at least 346 killed and 878 injured, mostly in airstrikes hitting residential areas, as per reports documented by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Protection of civilians and their infrastructure is one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law. Unfortunately, this aspect is being completely ignored in Ghouta."

Even medical facilities are not being spared. According to Doctors Without Borders, 13 of the facilities it supports in Eastern Ghouta were damaged or destroyed in three days, leaving remaining staff with very little to save the hundreds of wounded brought to them every day. Reports indicate that in the hospital mortuary in Douma, bodies wrapped in white shrouds were already lining up on the floor, two of them children.

It is unfortunate that the international community is not able as yet to stop a conflict that has left almost 350,000 dead in seven years and caused destruction rarely seen since World War II. The humanitarian situation of civilians in East Ghouta is evidently spiralling out of control.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has rightly called for an immediate truce to protect the lives of civilians. Syria has suffered enough through the severe conflict and the systematic targeting of civilians and cannot bear more bloodshed.

"The only way to end the Syrian crisis lies in the Geneva-based political solution. All parties should activate this political process," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

WAM/Esraa Ismail

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UAE Press: Ensure safety of civilians in Ghouta

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