The United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria expressed concern over the “alarming situation” in Daraa, a city in southwestern Syria subject to a siege by the Assad regime since June 24.
In a statement released on Thursday, Geir Pedersen addressed the suffering of civilians who face “shortages of fuel, cooking gas, water, and bread.” The statement included the presence of a short supply of medical assistance to treat the injured. Geir Pedersen urged that “the near siege-like situation must end. If not, there is the potential for increased confrontations and further deterioration.”
Daraa has been the birthplace of the Syrian revolution in 2011. The Assad regime, backed by Russia, recaptured the province in July 2018.
On June 24, the Assad regime blocked roads leading to and from Daraa al-Balad in an attempt to pressure the rebel fighters into surrendering their light weapons. As government forces began shelling residential areas, the rebels have carried out counterattacks, capturing dozens of Assad regime troops and taking over checkpoints.
Home to 40,000 people, thousands of civilians fled their homes in recent weeks due to violent clashes. According to the UN, at least 18,000 civilians have been forced to flee the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood since July 28.
Prices of basic commodities skyrocketed under the siege and the flow of humanitarian supplies has been obstructed.
The UN has documented the deaths of at least eight civilians while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based war monitor, described the situation as the “most violent and broadest clashes in Daraa since it came under regime control.”