After more than four years of siege by regime forces and its allied militias on the main Syrian opposition center in the Eastern Ghouta, it seems the humanitarian crisis has peaked amid blockade and the closure of most of the tunnels which served as the only lifeline for more than 400,000 people.
The tunnels, which were dug by rebel fighters and extended toward the eastern Damascus districts in Qaboun, Barzeh and Tishreen, were a strategic and vital link between the residents of the Eastern Ghouta and the outside world, according to local media activist Anas Salah.
Salah told Alsouria Net that after the fall of Qaboun, Barzeh and Tishreen to the regime, Assad’s forces had closed and destroyed all opposition tunnels, adding that it was no longer possible to use them to bring foodstuffs to the besieged districts, contributing to a major rise in prices.
He noted that along with the tunnels, there was a main crossing toward regime areas at Al-Wafideen on the outskirts of the city of Douma, through which goods were brought into the Ghouta. However, since the start of its campaign on the eastern Damascus districts the regime has deliberately closed it. Until recently the regime checkpoint at the crossing allowed in goods, but with huge taxes and on every kilogram entering the Ghouta.
Douma resident Mohamad al-Saour told Alsouria Net: “The regime checkpoints have started to impose very large taxes on entering the Ghouta towns, with about 600 Syrian pounds for every kilogram of goods.” He added that prices had risen a great deal since the operation to take control of the eastern Damascus districts and block the tunnels.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.