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Eastern Ghouta residents refuse to leave their land

A view of a damaged hospital after the Assad Regime carried out air strikes in Eastern Ghouta Syria on 21 February 2018 [Diaa Al-Din Samout/Anadolu Agency]
A view of a damaged hospital after the Assad Regime carried out air strikes in Eastern Ghouta Syria on 21 February 2018 [Diaa Al-Din Samout/Anadolu Agency]

In blatant defiance of the Syrian regime's attacks and violations, the residents of eastern Ghouta vowed not to leave their homes even if the regime destroys everything.

Mohammed Yaref, a resident of eastern Ghouta, told the Anadolu Agency that his neighbourhood which was shelled in the regime's recent attack includes only civilians and has no military headquarters, pointing out that the bombing has killed half of the residents.

Yaref accused the world and the UN Security Council of "lying and indifference" to the civilians suffering in eastern Ghouta, pointing out that the population had to hide in tunnels to escape the bombing, but they face hunger that has threatened them since the start of the campaign.

"If such a thing happened in Europe or Israel, the world would not rest," he said, calling on the international community to move to stop what is happening in Ghouta. Yaref stressed that no matter how long the bombing continues eastern Ghouta's residents will not leave their homes adding that they would rather die than leave.

Another Ghouta resident, teacher Maha Okasha said the educational sector in the region has suffered large losses from the bombing which has killed many students and teachers.

"I have a third grade student who was killed in the bombing, and another first grade student who was pulled out of the rubble and she is still unconscious. Teachers at my school were also killed," she told Anadolu.

Read: UNICEF says no more words to describe children suffering in Syria

Tamim Al-Dahm said the regime has destroyed everything in the region, and the situation has become indescribable.

"We are simple civilian farmers and we are not terrorists," he said adding that he was surprised by the regime's use of all its air power against eastern Ghouta. Al-Dahm pointed out that his neighbourhood was hit by two missiles which destroyed dozens of houses.

"We will not leave our land at any cost," he stressed.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Awad, who lost two of his sons in the recent campaign, said "the regime has targeted everything and we are spending all our time pulling people out of the rubble."

The Syrian regime forces backed by Russian aerial support began its most vicious attack on eastern Ghouta on 19 February.

Eastern Ghouta is also one of four de-escalation zones established last May by Russia, Iran and Turkey in order to stem the bloodshed of Syria's six-year civil war. However, the region has experienced near constant bombardment for many months, with aid provision restricted, leaving 400,000 civilians struggling to survive.

Read: More bombs hit Syria's Ghouta, death toll highest since 2013

On Saturday, the UN Security council voted unanimously in favour of a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, as rescuers in Ghouta said a week of perpetual bombing had not let up long enough for them to count bodies during one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war. Shortly after the vote, warplanes struck another town in the province.

In response, Russia announced on Monday a "daily five hour humanitarian truce" in eastern Ghouta, starting from Tuesday to help evacuate civilians from the area.

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