BEIRUT – The Latest on the Syria conflict (all times local):
Syrian state-run TV is broadcasting footage of patients being evacuated from a besieged region outside the Syrian capital, part of a negotiated deal to allow critical cases out.
Al-Ikhbariya TV showed a dozen eastern Ghouta residents, mostly women and children, exiting Wednesday through a corridor manned by Syrian soldiers. At least two ambulances and a bus brought patients and their families. The broadcaster said 25 people were evacuated.
Mohamed Katoub, a spokesman for the Syrian American Medical Society, which oversees a number of medical facilities in eastern Ghouta, said a list of over 1,000 patients requiring urgent care has been ready for two weeks. But with eastern Ghouta split in two and areas isolated, not all the patients can access the crossing.
Local authorities outside the Syrian capital say government forces have cut off their town from a surrounding rebel-held enclave, isolating 20,000 residents with no access to aid.
A member of the local council of Harasta said Wednesday that residents have been in underground shelters for long periods amid heavy bombardment. He said government forces have seized local cemeteries, forcing residents to bury their dead elsewhere.
He spoke on condition of anonymity out of safety concerns.
Harasta is in eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held region that has been under a crippling siege and daily bombardment for weeks. Opposition activists say more than 1,100 civilians have been killed since the latest offensive began in February.
Government forces have recently split the enclave in two and cut off the towns of Douma and Harasta.