The opposition-held Syrian city of Douma faces a "catastrophic" situation as it becomes the main haven for thousands of people fleeing advances by government forces into eastern Ghouta, its local council said today.
Thousands of families are now sheltering in open streets and public gardens as existing basements and shelters are already overcrowded, the opposition-run Douma local council said.
"After more than 20 days of a barbaric campaign … this has led to a deterioration of the humanitarian and food situation to a catastrophic level," it said in a statement.
Burials of the dead at the city cemetery have been suspended due to the intensity of aerial strikes, it added.
Hundreds of people have been killed in a ferocious air and artillery bombardment of the eastern Ghouta district since 18 February as the Syrian government seeks to crush the last major rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.
The United Nations says 400,000 people are trapped in the towns and villages of eastern Ghouta. They have been under government siege for years and were already running out of food and medicine before the assault. Many civilians have fled from the frontlines into Douma, a town in the enclave.
Last week, the UN Security Council called for the implementation of a 24 February resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria and it voiced concern about the country's humanitarian plight.