Thirteen sick Syrian children evacuated from besieged Madaya

Thirteen sick Syrian children evacuated from besieged Madaya
Small groups of Syrians were evacuated from besieged territories in the war-torn country, after a rare UN-brokered humanitarian deal between regime and rebel forces.
2 min read
19 August, 2016
Madaya has been besieged by regime forces for years [Getty]
A group of Syrians were allowed out of besieged territories on Friday, in a rare humanitarian agreement between rebels and the regime.

Among those evacuated were residents of Madaya, a rebel-held Damascus, and among the group of 18 let out were 13 sick children.

The cases included children with meningitis and malnutrition and two babies with blood poisoning.

Another evacuee was a pregnant woman whose baby died inside her womb, AFP reported.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent confirmed in a tweet that it was evacuating "36 humanitarian cases" from Madaya and two regime-held towns - Kafraya and Fuaa - in northwestern Idlib province.

Under an agreement brokered by the United Nations, aid deliveries to the towns always occur simultaneously, and a similar stipulation applies for those being evacuated.

The evacuees from Madaya are "headed towards Damascus where the patients will receive treatment," said doctor Mohammad Darwish, adding that the operation was completed "in coordination with the United Nations".

"This is a good step but we hope in the future there are no complications with evacuations," Darwish said.

An estimated 40,000 residents have been affected by food and medicine shortages inside Madaya since the regime encircled it two years ago and besieged it fully last summer.

This week, activists in the town shared a video of Yaman Ezzedin - a 10-year-old with meningitis - as part of a plea for help for Madaya's suffering children.

The young boy is so consumed by the pain, "he no longer recognises us," his father said.

Last week, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said the United Nations was ready to help evacuate at least 16 urgent cases from Madaya and another two from Fuaa and Kafraya.

According to the UN, nearly 600,000 people live under siege across Syria - mostly in rebel areas - which has been consumed by war for more than five years.