United Nations calls for urgent evacuation of 137 sick Syrian children stranded in rebel-held suburb

Beirut: The United Nations children's agency said 137 children stranded in a rebel-held suburb near the Syrian capital require immediate evacuation amid a crippling siege in which five have reportedly died from a lack
of medical care.

The Eastern Ghouta suburb, home to 400,000 residents, has been besieged since 2013 and humanitarian conditions there have deteriorated sharply amid violence that intensified since 14 November.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 202 people, including 47 children, have been killed since.

The area, the last remaining rebel-held pocket near the capital Damascus, is technically part of a "de-escalation zone" brokered by Russia earlier this year.

Cease-fires brokered by Russia have largely held elsewhere in Syria but there has been little progress toward a political solution to the conflict that has claimed nearly 400,000 lives since it began in 2011.

Syrian opposition and government delegates are currently in Geneva for a new round of UN-sponsored talks after a short break.

The government delegation has protested the opposition's insistence on the absence of President Bashar Assad from any future transition period.

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Updated Date: Dec 10, 2017 21:51:43 IST

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