Cut Off: Starving Syrians Hope to Live Through Winter

A young boy sits alone in a rubble-filled street in the Harasta area of Damascus. What the chemical weapons failed to achieve is now being gradually accomplished by hunger: the annihilation of a city.

As the world focuses on Syria’s chemical disarmament, thousands of people in the country face a more pressing concern: starvation. Cut off by ongoing violence, they are dying because they have no access to supplies. Many will not survive the winter.

Three-year-old Ibrahim Khalil survived the chemical weapons attacks on Aug. 21. But then, 10 days later, he died of hunger — just as the next child died hours after him and a third died four days later in the Damascus suburb of Muadhamiya.

When the world learned of the sarin gas attacks that took place in the suburbs of Damascus this past summer, it reacted with outrage, leading to Syria’s dismantling of its chemical arsenal, which was declared complete by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Thursday. Yet hardly anyone seems to be taking notice of these new deaths. After being under siege for months, cut off from food supplies, electricity, water and any form of aid, people are beginning to die of malnutrition.

Children are also starving to death in Yarmouk in the southern part of Damascus and other places sealed off by government troops. But nowhere is the situation as fatal as it is in Muadhamiya, where six children had died by mid-October “and dozens are already so weak that an ordinary cold would kill them,” says Dr. Amin Abu Ammar, one of the last doctors in the suburb.

The fact that President Bashar Assad agreed to destroy his stockpiles of chemical weapons is a piece of good news from a war that is not producing any other positive reports. In fact, it’s too good, so good that the chemical weapons inspectors were promptly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and it seemed as if the rest of the war had ceased. And while European governments are mainly concerned about foreign jihadists infiltrating Syria, there are about 1,000 armed local fighters in Muadhamiya who don’t even have any contact with neighboring towns.

Read more at Der Spiegel

Author: konigludwig

progressive social democrat, internationalist, conservationist

2 thoughts on “Cut Off: Starving Syrians Hope to Live Through Winter”

  1. I don’t know where to start. Something must be done, even if supplies are dropped from the air.

    I heard from fighters on both sides last night. There will be no peace.

    When the fighter form Assad’s army was asked about the starving children in the area he was targetting, he spoke of his own children and how the rebels, who he labeled as jihadists, al quaeda and al nusra were also targetting his children.

    The rebel fighter said they would not negotiate until Assad was gone, and I don’t think he meant gone on vacation.

    Both sides are dug in and the children are the ones to suffer the most.

    It’s even harder to get out of Syria now. The camps are full, the surrounding countries are full of refugees and need help.


  2. I instantly smiled at your suggestion of an airlift. I’ve been thinking the same thing. The Berlin Airlift saved starving Germans from a similar Russian seige of Berlin.

    President Obama has failed miserably as a humanitarian leader. The President’s Syria policy is a pathetic failure.

    I don’t blame the Syrian opposition. Remember that this began as peaceful civilian protests in the streets. Negotiate with a psychopathic murderer of defenseless women and children? Not a chance.


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