The Red Cross said on Tuesday that medical evacuations were being conducted in a rebel-held area near Damascus.
“Tonight the [Syrian Red Crescent] with [International Coalition of the Red Cross] team started the evacuation of critical medical cases from Eastern Ghouta to#Damascus,” the ICRC tweeted.
“Four patients were evacuated today, w/remainder being evacuated over the coming days,” the Syrian American Medical Society tweeted.
Mohamad Katoub, the advocacy manager for SAMS in Turkey, said the Syrian government approved from an “urgent list” sent through the United Nations back on Oct. 27.
“[The list] includes 18 children & 4 women with cancer, cardiac diseases, kidney failure and others,” Katoub wrote on Twitter.
He said the total list included 641 patients. Of those on the original list, 17 have already died.
Katoub added that the medical evacuation approval was part of a “deal of detainees exchange” between the Syrian government and the Jaysh al-Islam rebel group.
SAMS said nearly 400,000 people, including more than 130,000 children, are besieged in the area of Eastern Ghouta.
SAMS accused the Syrian government of “frequent aerial attacks and shelling,” including the targeting of hospitals, markets, schools and other civilian areas.
By Ray Downs