March 12, 2018 / 8:29 AM / 3 months ago

Syria's Douma faces catastrophe - local council

AMMAN (Reuters) - The Syrian rebel-held city of Douma faces a “catastrophic” situation as it becomes the main haven for thousands of people fleeing advances by government forces into eastern Ghouta, its local council said on Monday.

A man walks on the rubble of damaged buildings at the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh

Thousands of families are now sheltering in open streets and public gardens as existing basements and shelters are already overcrowded, the opposition-run Douma local council said.

“After more than 20 days of a barbaric campaign ... this has led to a deterioration of the humanitarian and food situation to a catastrophic level,” it said in a statement.

Burials of the dead at the city cemetery have been suspended due to the intensity of aerial strikes, it added.

Hundreds of people have been killed in a ferocious air and artillery bombardment of the eastern Ghouta district since Feb. 18 as the Syrian government seeks to crush the last major rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Tom Perry and Gareth Jones

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