Syrian govt. approves some medical evcauations in rebel-held area

The Red Cross said on Tuesday that medical evacuations were being conducted in a rebel-held area near Damascus.

Ambulances from the Lebanese Red Cross transport wounded fighters from Syria on August 14. On Tuesday, the Syrian government permitted the International Coalition of the Red Cross to carry out some medical evacuations from the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta. Photo by EPA/STR
Ambulances from the Lebanese Red Cross transport wounded fighters from Syria on August 14. On Tuesday, the Syrian government permitted the International Coalition of the Red Cross to carry out some medical evacuations from the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta. Photo by EPA/STR

“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