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Desperate conditions in Eastern Ghouta

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By Euronews
Desperate conditions in Eastern Ghouta

The creation of a daily humanitarian corridor in Syria's besieged Eastern Ghouta brings a glimmer of hope for civilians trapped there.

They're used to disappointment, however.

Dr Bassan Bakri, an anaesthetist working and living in the city, told euronews that the recent UN ceasefire had no discernable effect on the ground

"There's no ceasefire on the ground in Eastern Ghouta. Instead of a ceasefire, we have an air and ground forces attack."

Lack of safe medical supplies

Meanwhile there's a near total lack of safe medical supplies to treat casualties.

Dr Bakri said that "doctors must re-use medical equipment. We use re-sterilised equipment and we use medicine that has passed its expiry date".

He has a simple plea to the rest of the world.

"I want to say don't leave us to be killed. Try to help us. Try to achieve your humanity. We are people, not beasts. Freedom and peace. That is what we want."

Civilians and rescue workers targeted

In the nearby village of Douma, a local aid worker told us that scant consideration for civilian welfare had been shown by government and Russian forces to date. 

Mansour Abo al-kheir, a press officer for a local charity, said:

"Rescue teams are generally double-targeted by the regime, both in Douma and in Ghouta. After the civilian areas have been targeted, rescue workers arrive to check whether there are any civilian casualties, and to take them to hospitals. But, during the evacuation operation they are targeted for a second time by the regime, either with airstrikes or with rocket launchers or artillery fire. They suffer a great deal and there are martyrs amongst the rescue workers."

He, too, describes the appalling living conditions being endured by local inhabitants.

"The majority of civilians have stopped working. They are staying at home. Those who have basements in their buildings, stay in the basement. And the others stay in their houses, waiting to be targeted, or for God to spare them. [...] The siege has been underway for nearly five years, so families are in the impossible situation of not having any provisions. So rescue organisations are trying to help the families who are stuck at home or in basements by offering them cooked meals and anything that can help them to stay alive."

In a siege that has lasted nearly five years, conditions are becoming more desperate by the hour. Only time will tell whether this latest Russian initiative will have any real impact on the ground.