Democracy Flourishes in Eastern Ghouta Despite Assad Regime’s Crimes

Elections were held in the FSA-held town of Harasta Rural Damascus to elect members of the provincial council under the supervision of the Ministry of Local Administration of the Syrian interim government (SIG).

Civil society organizations and local media outlets monitored the elections which were attended by various official and revolutionary bodies and residents of the town.

Despite the brutal onslaught being launched by the Assad regime and the allied sectarian militias as well as the four-year siege they impose on the area, people of eastern Ghouta insisted on achieving their dream of building a democratic state that guarantees freedom and dignity for all citizens.

An electoral committee was set up to oversee the elections which saw the participation of 71 electoral bodies to elect 17 members of the provincial council. A total of 41 members of the electorate have run for the elections.

According to SIG, the electoral process will be completed in the rest of the districts in the province next week to elect a president of the council, a vice-president, and ten members of the Executive Office representing all districts of Rural Damascus in its third session.

The local council in Harasta east of the capital Damascus previously held elections in the town with widespread participation of women for the first time in late August. Up to 120 women participated in the vote in August.

Meanwhile, the ferocious campaign by the Assad regime on eastern Ghouta continues unabated. At least 14 civilians, including journalist Qais al-Qadi who works as correspondent for Al-Jisr TV channel, were killed in the regime’s bombardment on eastern Ghouta on Sunday. Cameraman Omar al-Dimashqi was also injured while he was reporting on the relentless bombardment.

The Assad regime forces also bombed a popular market in the town of Hammouriya, killing nine civilians, including women. Three civilians, including a child, were also killed in bombardment by regime forces on the town of Saqba.

Regime forces also carried out artillery and rocket shelling on the towns of Douma, Kafarbatna, Ayn Tarma, Hizrima, Housh Aldawahra, and Jisreen as well as on the district of Jobar in eastern Damascene. The shelling resulted in many civilian casualties, including children when artillery shells hit a school in Kafarbatna. The outskirts of the village of Beit Jinn in the western Rual Damascus came under barrel bomb attacks.

On Saturday, doctors in eastern Ghouta appealed to the international community and friends of Syria to press for the opening of humanitarian corridors into the besieged area and the introduction of baby milk and medicine. They said that there are 120 babies suffering from malnutrition as result of the lack of food, medicine and infant formula. They also warned that at least 40 children are threatened by death due to severe dehydration.

The Assad regime forces besiege over 350,000 civilians in a small geographical area comprising ​​about 20 towns and villages.

The Syrian Coalition called upon the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities towards the ongoing suffering of civilians trapped in eastern Ghouta. The Coalition stressed that action needs to be taken urgently to ensure the immediate lifting of the siege on eastern Ghouta and all besieged areas across Syria.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies / 30.10.2017)

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