Regime and rebel forces evacuate besieged Syrian civilians in rare moment of cooperation
1,800 civilians were able to flee a beseiged suburb of Damascus Tuesday due to a rare moment of cooperation and coordination between Syrian government and rebel forces, according to Reuters.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and related civil society groups helped the almost 2,000 civilians flee the besieged town of Moudamiya, but thousands remained trapped in the area will little to no food, water and medicine.
One of the residents who was evacuated told Reuters, "I was living in terror and now I am free and safe with the army, thank God. There [was] no food or water. We got out with a new spirit now.".
Regime forces have sieged rebel-controlled towns, like Mouadamiya, in an effort to force the opposition groups out of the areas. However, the sieges have left civilians in the towns in dire humanitarian conditions, with many dying from treatable illnesses and starvation due to lack of food and access to medical services.
Powerful international actors have called on Syrian authorities to allow open humanitarian routes and access to the besieged towns, but relief agencies have largely reported that they have still not been granted such access.
This is the third evacuated from Moudamiya. Opposition forces say that 12,000 people are still starving in the sieged area and UN reports suggest that 3,000 women and children have already successfully left the town.