Palestinian Refugees Launch Distress Signals as Syrian Regime Targets Blockaded Deraa with Anti-Aircraft Guns

Palestinian Refugees Launch Distress Signals as Syrian Regime Targets Blockaded Deraa with Anti-Aircraft Guns

In this file photo taken on August 8, 2017, smoke billows following a reported air strike on an opposition-held area in the southern Syrian city of Deraa. (AFP / Mohamad Abazeed)

The Syrian regime has attacked Deraa AlBalad, south of Syria, with anti-aircraft guns, forcing dozens of families out of their homes and shelters.

Syrian regime troops have been deployed at checkpoints pitched around Deraa city, including around the city’s Palestinian refugee camp.

As a result, dozens of Palestinian refugee families sheltered in Deraa Camp have fled the area for fear of deadly escalations by the Syrian regime forces and their Russian allies.

Assad regime forces have been blockading the crowded neighborhood of Deraa AlBalad and Deraa Camp, in southern Syria for over a three weeks. As a result the humanitarian situation has taken a turn for the worse.

Civilians have had no access to healthcare facilities in the area and have run out of much-needed medicines, including cancer drugs. The life of pregnant women and patients in need of hemodialysis is particularly at risk. There is only one certified midwife in the area.

On June 25, the regime forces asked the residents and former opposition forces to lay down all light weapons and allow them to search their homes. However, the Daraa Central Committee, the main reconciliation center in the area, noted that they were only supposed to hand in heavy weapons as part of the Russian-brokered agreement signed in July 2018. The regime then started imposing a blockade on some 40,000 civilians living in the area.

All entrances and exits from the district have been blocked, and the transportation of all medical and food assistance, as well as fuel, has been prohibited.

Daraa-based activists told Anadolu Agency (AA) that another reason for the regime to impose the blockade was because the region’s people had opposed setting up ballot boxes for the regime’s so-called elections.

Daraa was one of the main bastions of opposition that came under intense attacks by the regime.

In 2018, Assad regime forces, backed by allied Russian forces, started a massive ground and air offensive to retake Daraa from the opposition. The onslaught forced more than 320,000 people to flee and camp in open spaces or makeshift shelters near the border with Jordan or the Golan Heights.

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