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Ghouta: “Too early to consider evacuations”

Last December, Syrian Red Crescent medical teams were able to evacuate 29 injured civilians (credit: Syrian Arab Red Cross)

(B2)" France is ready to receive any person evacuated by the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) from this theater of operations. We will make ourselves available to organize these evacuations with the ICRC “, declared the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, during the press conference following the summit of heads of state and government, in Brussels, Friday, February 23.

A “hell on earth”

A generous act referring to the situation in Eastern Ghouta in Syria, described as " hell on earth » by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), cited by AFP, more than 500 civilians, including around a hundred children, have died under the bombs unleashed over the past seven days by the Syrian regime.

The absolute emergency: treating and providing food aid

Contacted by B2, the ICRC spokesperson for the Near and Middle East, Iolanda Jacquemet, indicates that it is “ much too early to speculate on medical evacuations ". " For us, the absolute urgency is to have humanitarian access to save lives because the health supply has decreased dramatically due to the bombing of hospitals. ". The ICRC's urgency is to " treat the wounded, bring medicine, food and water purifiers.

An evacuation of the same type as in Aleppo

In December 2016, the ICRC was able to evacuate nearly 35.000 civilians from the Aleppo enclave, which had been under bombardment for months. The ICRC intervened, as a neutral and impartial intermediary, after agreement of the parties. This evacuation was exceptional in several respects. Today we are still far from such an operation in Eastern Ghouta.

NB: According to the UN, in Syria, 13,1 million people, including 6,1 million are displaced, 2,5 million live in areas difficult to access, including Palestinian refugees, and hundreds of thousands of Civilians are trapped in besieged areas.

(Emmanuelle Stoesser)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).