The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by the escalating situation in eastern Ghouta and its devastating impact on civilians.
Nearly 400,000 people in eastern Ghouta have been subjected to air strikes, shelling and bombardment. As a result of the siege of the area by the Syrian Government forces, residents of this area are living under extreme conditions, including malnutrition. There are also reports of over 100 people killed in eastern Ghouta since Monday, including at least 13 children. Five hospitals or medical clinics in eastern Ghouta were hit by air strikes. Over 700 individuals require immediate medical evacuation. Meanwhile, there are reports of shelling from eastern Ghouta on Damascus.
Eastern Ghouta is part of a de-escalation agreement reached in Astana. The Secretary-General reminds all parties, particularly the guarantors of the Astana agreements, of their commitments in this regard. The United Nations has repeatedly called for a cessation of hostilities to enable humanitarian aid deliveries and the evacuation of the sick and wounded.
The Secretary-General urges all stakeholders to ensure that basic principles of international humanitarian law are adhered to, including unhindered humanitarian access, unconditional medical evacuations and the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.