Syria: Soldiers retake rebel suburb after ten days
SYRIAN troops have regained control of a rebellious Damascus suburb after a ten-day assault that left dozens dead, hundreds wounded and caused a major humanitarian crisis, according to activists.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local activist Mohammed Saeed said yesterday that troops recaptured Douma outside the capital late on Friday.
The latest campaign was the worst of several assaults on the area, with dead bodies left in the streets, the Observatory said.
“The situation in Douma is catastrophic. The suburb is badly destroyed,” said Saeed, adding that he was among dozens of residents who fled on foot through fields to safer areas for fear of being captured by security forces.
Douma has been a hotbed of dissent since the uprising against president Bashar al-Assad began last year.
Troops loyal to Assad are strong in central Damascus, but have battled to control the ring of suburbs and settlements in the surrounding countryside. The army launches frequent offensives into the suburbs, only to see them slip back into rebel control.
Saeed said troops stormed two makeshift hospitals where seriously wounded people were being treated. “The doctors fled and the wounded remained. Their fate is unknown,” he said.
Douma’s residents suffer from daily shelling as well as shortages of food, electricity and running water, according to the Observatory. It also cited a shortage of cooking gas that has prevented people from cooking food since the latest campaign began on 21 June.
The Observatory said about 100 families remain in Douma, and dozens of wounded people are also holed up in shelters and need urgent treatment.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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