A million people are being systematically starved as a weapon of war. and nobody knows about it. this is their story of resistance.
One morning in june 2012 people in homs woke up to find themselves surrounded.
Checkpoints and snipers were installed on all the key routes in and out of their area. No food or medicine was allowed in. Electricity and water were cut. Anyone trying to enter or leave the area would be shot dead.
The starting gun had been fired on one of the most cruel and hidden sides of the war in Syria: Bashar al-Assad’s “submit or starve” policy. The sieges. A year earlier those same streets were packed with tens of thousands peacefully demanding freedom and dignity after decades of dictatorship. Now they were facing a medieval siege at the hands of that same regime.
Today a million people are living under these sieges while tonnes of the world’s aid remains undelivered, often only minutes away. Civilians in these areas who have nothing to do with the fighting are often forced to eat leaves, insects and even cats to survive. Others that can afford it can sometimes buy food from smugglers, though often at thousands of times the original cost. Hundreds of people have starved to death while many thousands have died from malnutrition-related illnesses.
These people are needlessly dying because UN aid trucks and planes are being denied access to besieged areas by the Assad regime. Access that has been granted repeatedly by the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, the regime is taking billions of dollars of the same aid to feed people in areas under its control.
THE MOST EXPENSIVE SHOP IN THE WORLD
In Douma, the prices have gone up by 400%. Sometimes it’s even 4,000% like in Madaya. Some beg, some turn to charity, some sell their gold. People were well off before. Some had millions of Syrian pounds. But they spent it all. They had to sell their cars or their gold to eat. Their shops. People sold everything they had to get out. Now the food is so expensive. Some people are so skinny. They’re skin on bone.
– Youssef, Douma
Break the silence. Break the sieges.