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Humanitarian Initiatives by rebels to break siege in Damascus countryside

   The embattled countryside of Damascus, has been under cruel blockade by the Assad regime for more than a year, during the siege, People of the rebel-held areas have been suffering lack of the basic needs for a decent life.

 Ghouta, the paradise of Damascenes, had been targeted by thousands of mortar bombs, heavy artillery and airstrikes by Regime’s forces in an attempt to apply the scorched earth policy.

Assad's regime is blocking access to Ghouta towns and villages, where trapped civilians are in dire need of food and medical supplies, Activists warned of possible "tragic" consequences.

Many local and foreign relief NGO's made considerable efforts to provide the basic necessities for people who are under siege and suffer from hard living condition.  Many areas are at the brink of reaching to significant humanitarian catastrophe because humanitarian aid is no longer sufficient to cover people’s needs.

Under international humanitarian law, warring parties are obliged to allow rapid safe passage of humanitarian relief for civilians.

"They must also allow civilians in areas besieged by fighting to leave for safer areas, should they wish to do so. Regrettably, these obligations are not always fulfilled," the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

The united Office for relief in Eastern Ghouta has started many new internal initiatives through its local offices in different areas in an attempt to provide people’s needs. One of these project is the Charitable agriculture Project aiming to get benefit of every centimeter of land suitable for agriculture to use it in production of sustainable amount of crops; to secure food for the families under besiege. The initiative is local, self-managed and got its own fundraising. It aims to achieve self-sufficiency without waiting aids, that takes long time to arrive and lots of the aid get lost and taken away at barriers.

The local office in Zebdine cooperation with offices and other local councils in countryside of Damascus and established a wholesale market to make it easier to exchange food and agricultural products between area. Moreover, the relief office in Zamalka that used to help families of martyrs, prisoners and the wounded launched a project called "breakfasting the fasts” since the beginning of Ramadand and that supply food baskets to families.

In relevant context, a media activist confirmed that there are pictures and videos showing how the Regime forces target field and crops by shelling and gunfire and aircraft attacks in order to sabotage damage and burn fields and thus speed up surrender. “Many of the fighters of the FSA do the agricultural job like digging and harvesting besides fighting as they consider securing people’s needs one of their responsibilities.

These simple procedures and initiatives confirming the creativity of the Syrians as they do not stop thinking and creating new methods to overcome difficult circumstances and most important is saving their dignity as one of famous slogan in the beginning of Syrian revolution "Death better than humiliating".

Zaman Alwasl
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