Tightening siege by the Syrian regime forces in Damascus' Eastern Ghouta district has pushed around 400,000 people to the verge of famine.

Hala al Nufi, suffers from a metabolic disorder which is worsening due to the siege and food shortages in the Eastern Ghouta,  in Ghouta, Syria, October 25, 2017.
Hala al Nufi, suffers from a metabolic disorder which is worsening due to the siege and food shortages in the Eastern Ghouta, in Ghouta, Syria, October 25, 2017. (Reuters)

Around 400,000 people are trying to survive in the Eastern Ghouta district of Damascus that has been under siege of the Syrian regime for four years. 

A tightening siege by the regime forces has pushed people to the verge of famine in the Eastern suburbs, residents and aid workers said last week, bringing desperation to the only major rebel enclave near the Syrian capital.

Among them is a Sudanese man and his family.

" I can't wait to get out. I wish to go home and see my country my friends, my loved ones, my siblings, my mum, I would love to see them if they are still alive," said Mirsal Ali, a Sudanese Syrian.

TRT World's Nick Davies-Jones has the story.

Acute need

More than 13 million people inside Syria still need humanitarian assistance and nearly half are in "acute need" as a result of having fled their homes, of hostilities, and of limited access to food, health care and other basic needs, the UN humanitarian chief said on Monday.

Mark Lowcock told the Security Council the number of Syrians who have been displaced within the country for a long time has dropped from 6.3 million to 6.1 million. 

But he said "levels of new displacement remain high," with 1.8 million people reportedly forced to leave between January and September.

In the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, "one of the four de-escalated areas where nearly 95 percent of Syria's besieged population lives," shelling has been reported in recent weeks and humanitarian access has been severely curtailed for months, Lowcock said.

"Since the start of the year, 110,000 people have received food assistance, out of an estimated population of nearly 400,000," he said. "Today, the UN and partners delivered food, nutrition and health assistance to 40,000 people."

Child malnutrition 

Lowcock said "an alarming number of child malnutrition cases" have been reported in Eastern Ghouta and more than 400 people with health problems need medical evacuation.

Britain's UN ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, called the situation in Eastern Ghouta "atrocious," saying de-escalation should not mean bombardment.

"What we fear is that the de-escalation zone is becoming a starvation zone," Rycroft said. 

"So we call on the Syrian regime and their allies to lift the blockade to allow humanitarian aid to get through."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies