For Immediate Release
November 8, 2016
Washington, DC – Aerial attacks using unconventional weapons on East Ghouta have intensified over the past three days. Yesterday, a series of attacks, including incendiary weapons, chemical agents, and cluster bombs, killed one civilian and injured 32, five of whom were treated for severe burn wounds. On the same day in the western Aleppo countryside, 18 people, including nine children, sustained respiratory injuries from a reported chlorine gas attack. This is the eighth chemical attack in 2016 and the 168th since the beginning of the conflict.In the absence of enforcement and accountability.
Earlier this morning, four airstrikes on three major towns in East Ghouta, a besieged suburb of Damascus, killed 10 people, including three children, and severely injured additional civilians. Ghaith, a one-year-old infant was among the injured. He was taken to a hospital supported by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) to receive treatment after an airstrike hit his home this morning in Douma. His condition remains critical.
Bayan, a six-year-old girl, was pulled alive from under the rubble following an aerial attack on her home yesterday in the afternoon. She was taken to a hospital in Al-Maraj and remains unconscious in critical condition.
On Sunday, six children were killed when airstrikes targeted a kindergarten in Harasta, a town that has been besieged since 2012. In the past six months, the town has only received two aid convoys. The most recent aid convoy, which entered on October 19, brought medical supplies, oxygen ventilators, and a basic amount of medicine for the city’s population of 140,000. However, burn kits were removed from the convoy, supplies which could have helped doctors and emergency responders treat those injured by the incendiary weapons.
“We continue to bear witness to the atrocities taking place in Syria while the international community stands by watching,” said SAMS’s President, Dr. Ahmad Tarakji. “Over the past few days, an escalation of indiscriminate aerial attacks on besieged East Ghouta has killed many innocent civilians, including children, yet these war crimes continue with impunity. These blatant attacks on civilians have to stop before it is too late. The people of Syria deserve to live without having to fear for their lives or the lives of their loved ones every day.”
SAMS calls on the international community to take substantive action to hold the perpetrators of these attacks accountable, end attacks on civilians, and end the siege of civilian populations across Syria. SAMS joins Syrian medical personnel and civilians trapped under siege and aerial attacks in calling for immediate international action. Without accountability from the international community, these attacks will continue to escalate.