As the war rages in Syria, Assad regime uses siege as a powerful tool to pressure on Syrian rebel forces. more than 600.000 Syrians are besieged in various areas without food or aid, and many of them are starving to death.
At a makeshift clinic in the eastern countryside of Syria’s Hama province, an area controlled by Syrian rebels, volunteer medics are trying everything to save a seven-month-old’s life.
Bara, a child in Hama, should weigh 7kg – but he is just half that. His ribs can be seen protruding from the skin on his tiny chest, and he’s been without a proper supply of milk for months.
But with his body extremely weak and frail due to long-term exposure to malnutrition, they say he will probably die.
Hundreds of deaths have been reported from preventable causes in the area, and medics say there are around 40 children in a similarly perilous condition to Bara.
Aid hardly reaches Hama, and when it does finally get through, products to treat hunger and malnutrition – such as peanut butter paste supplements – are not suitable for toddlers and babies.
“One of the reasons for malnutrition is that children are given goats milk,” Mohammed Motair, a pediatrician in Hama, told Al Jazeera.
As the fighting rages on around them, almost five million Syrians are not getting enough food, water or medicine, according to UNICEF.
The agency says children are dying every day from easily preventable diseases – and now the drought is making things even worse.
The UN estimates that more than 500,000 Syrians are under siege but some groups, such as the Siege Watch Project, put that figure at more than one million.
The ongoing Syrian conflict started as a largely unarmed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011 but morphed into a full-blown civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people and turned more than 4.3 million others into refugees, according to statistics by the UN.
Madaya is under Hezbollah siege again
One-hundred eighty-three civilians have lost their lives because of the siege in the Hezbollah-besieged town of Madaya in Damascus western countryside, according to statistics released by Statistics Office in the town.
Civilian death cases were caused by hunger, illness, mines, and snipping while trying to escape the town. Snipping cases included women.
Victims included twenty children, four of them died because of the lack of milk and malnutrition. Another four newborns died because of the lack of incubators and mothers’ malnutrition. Also, four more children died along with their families because of the shelling, and three died by exploding mines, while another five died of malnutrition.
Activists documented thirty cases of abortion since the beginning of the siege on Madaya because of mothers’ malnutrition. The last case was a four-month-old embryo, according to the medical center in Madaya.
Medical Committee in Madaya called on all international organizations to immediately intervene to help the civilians in the towns of Bokkein and Madaya. It called on them to deliver medical and food aid since the aid that was delivered two months ago has run out. The committee fears that civilians will starve and resort to eating leaves again.
In a different context, Assad and Hezbollah terrorists tried to advance from the southern Bokkein spring side in order to control water resources on the one side, and to separate Bokkein from Madaya on the other. Snipers were also deployed on rooftops, and an old man from Bokkein was killed.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah militia intervened in the Syrian crisis to support Bashar al-Assad in his war against the Syrian civilians. The militia helped Assad regime to achieve many victories over Syrian rebels especially in Homs countryside. However, this intervention cost the militia a high price as the third of its fighters are either killed or injured.