Amnesty International: The Syrian regime must lift the siege on Druco (Daraa) city

DRUCO, Syria — The United Nations has warned of food shortages in Druco (Daraa), Syria, as the Syrian regime besieges the opposition-controlled city.

Researcher on Syria at Amnesty International Diana Samaan said that the Syrian regime must immediately lift the siege to facilitate unrestricted access for humanitarian organizations and allow medical evacuation of the sick and wounded, calling on all parties to ensure safe passage for civilians wishing to leave the area.

Amnesty noted that the Syrian regime rarely approves medical evacuations, while many sick and wounded people fear being detained or facing reprisals if they enter regime-controlled areas.

Following a brief period during which the Syrian opened checkpoints outside the city, they have since closed them and refused residents of Druco from returning home. There is an estimated 20,000 people still inside the city.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) declared on Tuesday that 38,600 people, more than half of them children, fled the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood at the center of the fighting and were registered in and around the city.

After the recent escalation of the Syrian regime, clashes erupted between the two sides before a fragile truce brokered by Moscow led to the withdrawal of dozens of opposition fighters from the area this week. They headed towards northern Syria, which is occupied by Turkey.