siege and starvation in Syria

This is sad. It doesn’t have to happen. If western planes are able to drop bombs, why can’t they drop food?

MSF [Médecins Sans Frontières] says 23 people have died of starvation at its clinic in Madaya, one of the many towns where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used siege tactics to weaken territories controlled by rebels fighting to oust him.

“Madaya is now effectively an open air prison for an estimated 20,000 people, including infants, children and elderly. There is no way in or out, leaving people to die,” said Brice de le Vingne, director of operations for MSF. ….

Activists are sceptical of UN promises that it will be able to access Madaya soon.

“The UN is amazing. It feels like they are like a retirement home, except even a retirement home has more vigour than they do,” said Youssef al-Bustani, who lives in the besieged countryside east of Damascus. “They’re waiting for the regime’s permission to feed children starving under siege?”

President Assad’s forces first used the siege tactic in 2012, and since then it has become increasingly deployed by all sides in the five-year civil war to try to starve out opponents.

Erika Solomon, “Dozens die of hunger in besieged Syrian town“, Financial Times, 9 January 2016 (metered paywall).

This undated photo posted on the Local Revolutionary Council in Madaya, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows a starving boy in Madaya, Syria. The Syrian government has agreed to allow humanitarian assistance into three beleaguered villages following reports of malnutrition in the area, a U.N. official said Thursday.Two of the villages in question are the adjacent Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya in the country s north, which have been besieged by anti-government militants for more than a year. The third is the village of Madaya near the border with Lebanon, which has been under siege by government forces since early July. (Local Revolutionary Council in Madaya via AP)

A child in the besieged town of Madaya (source: FT.com).

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