President Bashar Assad’s army pummeled rebel-held Eastern Ghouta with airstrikes for five consecutive days last week, killing over 200 civilians. The death toll marks one of the deadliest weeks in Syria’s seven-year war.
The escalating offensive, which kicked off in late December, ignores repeated calls from the United Nations to halt fighting and allow aid into the besieged area.
Civilians have borne the brunt of the regime’s bombardment, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which estimates that 58 children and 43 women were killed in strikes launched Monday through Thursday last week.
Those numbers match up with what health workers are seeing on the ground. “Most of the injured we’ve treated during this period were women and children,” Abdulwahab abu Yahya, a surgeon in Eastern Ghouta, told VICE News.
The strikes are made worse by the fact that humanitarian organizations have had limited access to Eastern Ghouta, despite the area being labeled a “de-escalation zone” more than a year ago in a deal orchestrated by Iran, Russia, and Turkey. The U.N. hasn’t accessed the region since November.
“The medicine and supplies we have will probably only last us three or four months.” said abu Yahya. “We don't know what we're going to do after that.”
This segment originally aired February 7, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.