Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Visited The Suburb of Eastern Ghouta

Syria’s president just made a rare public appearance to celebrate the army’s brutal takeover of Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian forces now control more than 80% of the area, according to a human rights group. In February, the government ramped up its bombing and ground assaults, which has since killed more than 1,100 people.

President Bashar Al-Assad met with the soldiers who were part of the month-long campaign. The UN is now trying to broker a ceasefire so patients in desperate need of medical care can evacuate. At least 70,000 people have escaped Eastern Ghouta in the past week, but evacuation for the remaining residents may be far off.

Eastern Ghouta has been under rebel control since 2012. The suburb of Damascus is home to about 400,000 people — it was one of the last rebel-held areas in Syria. The war in the country has killed more than 450,000, left more than 1.5 million with permanent disabilities and displaced 11 million people.

It’s unclear how this long and bloody conflict will finally come to end, but hopefully in one way or another, the people in need of food, water and medical supplies find relief soon and stop having to worry about the constant strikes.