Last updated: 11 September, 2015

August ‘one of bloodiest months’ for Syria’s Eastern Ghouta: MSF

A besieged area east of Syria’s capital suffered one of its bloodiest months in August, with “intense” regime bombing attacks that killed and wounded hundreds, Doctors Without Borders said Friday.

MSF said “20 consecutive days of intense bombing attacks” on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta last month killed at least 377 people and wounded 1,932 others citing data from six hospitals.

“This is one of the bloodiest months since the horrific chemical weapons attack in August 2013,” Dr. Bart Janssens, MSF Director of Operations, said in a statement.

“It is clear that there were at least 150 war-wounded treated per day in East Ghouta during these 20 days of bombing,” he said.

Eastern Ghouta is the largest rebel stronghold in Damascus province. It is regularly targeted by government air strikes and has suffered a devastating siege for nearly two years.

Last month, 117 people were killed in a single day of government air strikes on the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, causing a global outcry.

Thirteen makeshift hospitals supported by MSF in Eastern Ghouta reported “being almost permanently overwhelmed with violent trauma cases from 12 to 31 August,” the medical charity said.

But treatment of victims is becoming increasingly difficult, as the government tightens its blockades of areas around the capital.

“We are aware of around 400 amputations conducted in East Ghouta in August. Many of these people’s limbs could have probably been saved if the medical care in besieged areas were not so desperately constrained,” said Janssens.

Rights groups have criticised both government forces and rebel groups for their use of sieges, which prevent access to food and medicine for civilians.

More than 240,000 people have been killed and millions have been forced to flee since the conflict began in March 2011.