Ghouta’s ordeal told on social networks.

TRANSLATED BY BENJAMIN SCHOEB AND PROOFREAD BY ALICE DOWEK

Inhabitants of the Eastern Ghouta, one of the last rebel strongholds in Syria, are using social media platforms to report their ordeal. Bombed by Bashar Al Assad’s military aircrafts, besieged, exposed to shortage of food, water and to the proliferation of diseases, it seems like the Syrian civilians are not yet done with all the sufferings caused by the war. The Syrian government is preventing humanitarian aid convoys and journalists from reaching the conflict zone. In addition, since the 18th of February, the intensification of bombings suggests that a ground offensive could happen any  day now.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SOHR, over 400 civilians, including 100 children have been killed in the war zone, described as “hell on earth” by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of The United Nations.

The plight of the Syrian people keeps moving the world

On Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, inhabitants of the Eastern Ghouta share daily stories, often captured on video, of people trying to survive in an area where nearly 400 000 civilians are trapped.

On his Twitter account, Mohamed Najem, 15 years old, regularly shares videos taken with a mobile phone of the ruins  which used to be his neighbourhood, to account for the horrors of the war. His messages, written in English, have allowed him to acquire great visibility on social networks and have turned him in a symbol of Ghouta’s ordeal. In one of his latest videos, Mohamed Najem once again called out to the International Community, begging the Community to react and take measures to put an end to the siege. “How come our blood has become meaningless?” he asks, standing in front of a pile of rubble , the only remains of a building that was destroyed during a bombing.

In Douma, Ghouta’s main city, photographer Firas Abdullah shares pictures on his Facebook page, to account for the cataclysmic disaster hitting his city. His publications have two purposes: to show the world how the government seeks to systematically and methodically reduce the area to ruins and to inform those who follow him on Facebook that he is still alive.

Nivin Hotary, a woman living in Eastern Ghouta, also publishes messages in which she gives the day-to-day body count and location of air strikes. Sharing the story of the daily life in the besieged area, she also speaks of many inhabitants who have decided to live in building’s basements to protect themselves from the bombing.

“Trapped in the basements […] we cannot sleep. Every ten minutes, a shell explodes nearby, giving the people who are bombing us the assurance that no one will sleep tonight.” she says.

Medics and caretakers often find themselves on the front line, trying to save anyone that can be saved. Facing pain and death every day, they are doing their best to tackle the equipment and drugs shortage. Hospitals are being targeted by the regime and despite these ever-decaying conditions, medics and caretakers keep doing their jobs and keep uploading pictures of the wounded on their Facebook pages.

The international Community’s inertia

While the Syrian population suffers and endures the horrors of war every-day, the International Community dithers on the means and actions that need to be taken to put an end to the war. A vote by the United Nations Security Council regarding a month-long ceasefire in Syria, especially in Eastern Ghouta, is expected but has not yet been taken.

Russia, one of Damascus’ allies , is delaying the adoption of the text, presented by both Sweden and Kuwait. Iran, another ally of the regime, has spoken in favour of the pursuit of the bombings to prepare the area for the ground offensive, which is being mainly orchestrated by the Guardians of the Revolution.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, have called out to the Russian President, Vladimir Poutin, to approve the draft resolution.

“What Russia, Iran and Syria have recently done is a humanitarian disgrace” Donald Trump declared, without doing anything new to change the situation on the ground.

Banner picture: Aleppo in rumbles, source: http://mil.ru/index.htm

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