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Syria: Over 2,000 civilians leave besieged town near Damascus

14-10-2013 News Release 13/167

Damascus/Geneva (ICRC) – Over the last 24 hours, the Syrian authorities have allowed more than 2,000 women, children and elderly men to leave Moaddamiyah, a besieged town in Rural Damascus. With support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent has been providing those who left the town with emergency relief, including food and water. Despite this very positive development, the ICRC remains extremely concerned about the people still in Moaddamiyah, who have little or no access to food or medical care.

"There are many more, including children, who remain in the town, which has been under siege for almost 10 months," said Magne Barth, head of the ICRC delegation in Syria. "We are particularly concerned about those who are sick or wounded. It is imperative that humanitarian aid and personnel be allowed into the town – and that is what we have been requesting repeatedly for the past two months."

Those who were allowed to leave Moaddamiyah were taken to shelters in the nearby town of Qudsaya, where the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent delivered food rations, potable water and other emergency items. The situation they described in the besieged town is alarming.

The ICRC estimates that there are thousands of people left in Moaddamiyah, including hundreds who are sick or wounded and require urgent medical care. "We call on the Syrian authorities to allow the urgent delivery of medical supplies to all areas under siege in Rural Damascus," said Mr Barth. "In addition, all parties must ensure that the civilians remaining in Moaddamiyah are protected, that the sick and the wounded receive proper medical treatment and that those who wish to leave besieged areas can do so safely."

Under international humanitarian law, all parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief intended for civilians. The parties must respect the right of the sick and the wounded to be treated and cared for without discrimination.

For further information, please contact:
Simon Schorno, ICRC Damascus, tel: +963 993 700 847
Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 33 45 or +41 79 244 64 70


Photos

Two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers find out what this woman needs for the journey from Moaddamiyah to the shelters that have been prepared in Qudsaya with support from the International Federation and the ICRC. 

Two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers find out what this woman needs for the journey from Moaddamiyah to the shelters that have been prepared in Qudsaya with support from the International Federation and the ICRC.
© IFRC / I. Malla

Qudsaya. Two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers examine a baby who has just arrived. 

Qudsaya. Two Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers examine a baby who has just arrived.
© IFRC / I. Malla

Qudsaya. Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers welcome people arriving in the suburbs from the city centre by bus. 

Qudsaya. Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers welcome people arriving in the suburbs from the city centre by bus.
© IFRC / I. Malla