The attacks on the besieged city of Eastern Ghouta, not far from the Syrian capital Damascus, have escalated in the last few days.
Barrel bombs are being dropped on the city for the first time, and the residents hardly emerge from their bomb shelters. Syrian troops have assembled outside the city, ready at any moment to move in. The regime of President Bashar al-Assad, supported by Russian forces, has scaled up its attacks on Eastern Ghouta over the past months. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, 729 civilians have been killed in the city in the past three months. Approximately 400,000 people have been trapped in Eastern Ghouta for nearly five years.
In the first few weeks of 2018, the war in Syria has reached a new low. Besides Eastern Ghouta, civilians in Idlib and Afrin have also been killed and displaced by intensified military attacks. The U.N. envoy for Syria Stafan de Mistura said that “in four years this is probably one of the most potentially dangerous momments I've seen in the conflict." Attacks on medical facilities have never been so frequent as since the beginning of this year. With the Turkish invasion of Afrin, the Israeli bombing of the Syria air force, and U.S. bombing in which Russian mercenaries were killed, the influence Syrians themselves have on the war has receded even further.
Please read the story of Nivin, a woman in besieged Eastern Ghouta, in the blog Under the Window.
Or see below to follow the situation in Ghouta on social media
See also siegewatch.org for more details on the besieged areas in Eastern Ghouta.