Damascus/Beirut/Geneva, 29 December 2017—Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers and
staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have successfully
transferred 86 civilians with 29 people among them with serious health conditions from
eastern Ghouta near Damascus. The patients and their families were transferred to hospitals
in Damascus where they will be treated for their illnesses.
There were 17 children among those transferred during the three-day operation, along with 6
women and 6 men. All are suffering various life-threatening conditions that require advanced
hospital care and treatment. The evacuation included also a transfer of their families (56
people) among them 17 children, 31 women and 8 men.
“We’ve been planning for this operation and waiting to be given safe access,” said Mr Khaled
Hboubati, the President of Syrian Arab Red Crescent. “Now, our volunteers were able to
transfer people with life-threatening chronic diseases and serious injuries to get medical
help. We want to thank all parties involved, especially our Red Cross Red Crescent partners,
ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).”
In late December, IFRC President, Francesco Rocca, visited Syria and met with senior
government officials. Mr Rocca stressed the need to increase regular, safe and secure
access of Red Crescent volunteers to communities in need across Syria and to facilitate the
transfer of people with serious health conditions to hospitals where they can receive medical
“I hope this evacuation will be followed by many more deliveries of relief items and medical
assistance to people in need. I would like to thank all involved in this evacuation which is a
signal of hope for the people in need, inside Ghouta and in all the hard to reach areas,”,,
said Mr. Rocca.
“The evacuation was a positive step to end the immense suffering of some people in Eastern
Ghouta, especially children who have limited access to life-saving medical care. But more
needs to be done. The needs of civilians should come first, be it in Ghouta or elsewhere in
Syria, and access to aid should be allowed on a more regular basis and without conditions,”
ICRC head of delegation Marianne Gasser said.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement works together in Syria in support
of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent which is the largest provider of humanitarian services in
Syria. More than 7,800 active volunteers, who work in accordance to SARC mandate,
distribute relief to more than 5 million people each month.
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