Home Thematic Reports Targeting Ovens in Eastern Ghouta Deprives Tens of Thousands Residents from Bread

Targeting Ovens in Eastern Ghouta Deprives Tens of Thousands Residents from Bread


A Flash Report Highlighting Several Incidents of Bombing Bread Ovens in Eastern Ghouta-Damascus countryside

by wael.m
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Introduction: The Syrian regular forces and their allies have not only bombed residential neighbourhoods and civilian gatherings, during their most violent[1] military campaign launched on all the cities and towns of Eastern Ghouta, but also they deprived people there from everything necessary for their survival, by shelling the ovens that provide hundreds of thousands of besieged civilians with bread, according to Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ field researcher.

On February 19, 2018, one of the main bread ovens in Eastern Ghouta, particularly in Mesraba[2] village, was subjected to an aerial bombardment, which put it completely out of service and deprived thousands of families in the whole Eastern Ghouta of its services.

On February 20, 2018, pro-government warplanes targeted one of the main bread ovens in Saqba[3] town with three rockets at once, which resulted in its total destruction, and made the people face great difficulty to get a loaf of bread.

On February 23, 2018, a rocket was dropped by warplanes near the main bread oven in Hamoryah[4] city, which put it out of service, depriving many people there from bread.

According to STJ field researcher, the Syrian regular forces and their allies have deliberately and systematically targeted all what necessary to keep people alive, since the start of their recent military campaign on Eastern Ghouta, indicating that these attacks led to the scarcity of bread, and to an insanely rise in its price accordingly, that the one-bread bag price exceeded (5) dollars, equivalent to [2250] SP, which many people couldn’t afford.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution No. (2401) amid a welcome from the United Nations, which called for a ceasefire throughout Syria for at least 30 consecutive days to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuation services of the critically sick and wounded.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has described the situation in Syria as "bleak" in the wake of the UN Security Council resolution calling for 30-day ceasefire throughout the country.

STJ had earlier prepared a flash report entitled "No Houses to Shelter Them Anymore", which documents a side of the destruction of civilian houses in Eastern Ghouta-Damascus countryside since the beginning of the campaign of February 2018. It also prepared a report entitled "Tunneling Underground Becomes the Only Hope to Survive in Eastern Ghouta", which is a flash report highlighting the dire humanitarian situation of people living in underground cellars due to the brutal military campaign on Eastern Ghouta.

First: Shelling a Main Bread Oven in Eastern Ghouta

On February 19, 2018, pro-government forces targeted the "Al-Manfoush company" warehouse in Mesraba village, one of the most important food warehouses in Eastern Ghouta, which served as the food basket that cover the food needs of people. The warehouses include one of the most important bread ovens serving people of Eastern Ghouta. That was confirmed to STJ by Fahad al-Telkah, a resident of Mesraba village, who said:

"Around 10:00 am. the warplanes launched a raid on the blocks of the buildings containing AlManfoush company warehouses and the oven which serves the west of the Mesraba village. The ambulance teams rushed to the scene immediately after the attack, but in the meantime, the warplanes returned back to drop a rockets on the area. The shelling began to be intensified, as the warplanes launched more four raids on the same area, also the helicopter dropped two barrel bombs, as well as 30 mortar shells fired into the area, which put the oven completely out of service."

He added that the targeted oven used to produce 400 thousand tons of bread serving half of the families in Eastern Ghouta, that it used to sell bread half price, as the price of the single bread bag in other ovens there reached (3) dollars equivalent to [1350] .. SP, while Mesraba oven sold it at a price of $1.6.

Video footage published by the Civil Defence in Damascus countryside showed an aspect of the destruction and damage caused to the blocks of buildings that contain the warehouses and the bread oven of "Al-Manfoush Company" in Mesraba village after being shelled on February 19, 2018.

 A photo, taken from the previous video, showing a part of the destruction and damage caused to the blocks of the buildings containing the warehouses and the " Al-Manfoush " oven in Masraba village, after being shelled on February 19, 2018.

Second: A Main Oven in Saqba Went Out of Service

On February 20, 2018, Syrian regular forces and their allies targeted residential neighbourhoods in Saqba town, which resulted in many civilian causalities killed or wounded, besides targeting one of the main ovens in Saqba. That was confirmed to STJ by Osama al-Hasan, a resident of Saqba, who said:

"The warplanes targeted the oven with three rockets at once, which resulted in its total destruction, especially since it was not supported with building above it, as well as causing destruction and damage to the surrounding buildings. This oven was a main oven in the town, which it used to provide the entire town population with bread. There were only two ovens in the town. After these attacks the owners no longer dared to operate their ovens for fear of the direct and systematic bombardment they were subjected to before. The Regime meant to instil fear in their hearts not to dare to operate the ovens.  "

Video footage published by the Civil Defence in Damascus countryside showed a side of evacuating the wounded and injured in the town of Saqba, after being shelled on February 20, 2018.

An image shows a side of the devastation in Saqba, following the violent bombardments of February 20, 2018.
Photo credit: Ghouta Media Centre.

Third: Bombing a Bread Oven in Hamoryah City

On February 23, 2018, the city of Hamoryah witnessed a bloody day following the shelling by pro-government warplanes, which also bombed a bread oven in Hamoryah city with a rocket that landed directly in front of the oven. In this regard, Muhammad Issa, a resident of Hamoryah city, reported to STJ saying:

"That morning, Hamoryah oven was directly attacked, which put it out of service, knowing that the oven used to produce (3) tons of bread daily, about (4000) bag of bread. People of Hamoryah mainly depended on it to secure bread, but after being targeted and put out of service there has been a great shortage of bread.  "

The Syrian regular forces and their allies deliberately targeted facilities and places essential for the people to survive. Issa noted that attacking ovens led to an insane rise in bread price in Eastern Ghouta, and he goes on to say:

“Since the regime began its latest military campaign, targeting bread ovens, it became very difficult to find bread in the market, and if any was found, the one-bread bag was sold at more than 5 dollars which is insane, and most of East Ghouta people couldn’t afford this price. That led us to eat other foodstuffs instead such as rice and barley. Sometimes some relief organizations distribute bread to us but in very little quantity. Our life has become miserable; it is heart-wrenching to see your children starving, without being able to do anything to alleviate their suffering.”

An image shows, which shows a side of the devastation in Hamoryah, following the violent shelling that took place during February 2018.

An Image shows a side of the devastation in the city of Duma, following the violent shelling it was subjected to during March 2018.
Photo credit: Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ

 

 

[1] On February 17, 2018, pro-government forces and militias mobilized a very large number of vehicles and soldiers on several adjacent points for Eastern Ghouta, according to military sources, these crowds were as a part of preparations for the military operations in which “Tiger Forces”, affiliated to "Suheil al-Hassan” nicknamed The Tiger, al-Nimr, are involved, to control the Eastern Ghouta region. This campaign has begun with intense bombardment, by warplanes, helicopters and heavy artillery, leaving hundreds of civilian deaths, from the day it begins to the date of preparation of this report according to the field researcher of STJ.

[2] Syrian regular forces had managed to control Mesraba on March 10, 2018, but The Army of Islam retook it on March 18, 2018, according to several sources.

[3] Saqba was under the control of The Army of Islam before the Syrian regular forces managed to control it on March 18, 2018.

[4] Hamoryah was under the control of The al-Rahman Legion before the Syrian regular forces managed to control large part of it on March 14, 2018.

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