11 Feb Syria: Breaking the Siege
“Starve or surrender.”
These words scrawled onto a stone wall in Syria have come to represent one of the most brutal methods of war taking place across the country today.
New research by Siege Watch has highlighted the extent of siege warfare in Syria and inaccuracies that permeated initial reports.
The report argues that over one million Syrians are currently under siege through several different methods – including lack of food and highly inflated pricing – while other areas are at risk of siege.
This inflation was also highlighted in a new report from Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR) released on Thursday called ‘Confronting Fragmentation’. It estimates that consumer prices went up by an astonishing 53% last year. In addition it shows that 11.5% of Syria’s population have been killed or injured since the crisis started in March 2011.
Meanwhile, charities are continuing to push through to address the needs of the districts highlighted in the emerging information. This is despite the dangers that come amid the civil war.
The Relief Sub-Committee at Damascus Countryside, in cooperation with SARC started to distributing 6500 food packages to villages of Baseemeh, Ain al-Feijeh, Deir Mqaren, Kfeer al-Zeit, Jdaidet al-Wadi, Ashrafiet al-Wadi, afra, deir Qanoon and al-Huseiniyeh in the Wadi Barada area.
Syria’s state news agency (SANA) stated yesterday that gunmen had opened fire on aid vehicles near Madaya, but no casualties were reported. Vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent completed the operation and sick people were evacuated.
Issued by Netherlands-based aid group PAX and the Washington-based Syria Institute, the new Siege Watch report comes a month after aid convoys broke the siege and delivered food aid to Madaya, Fouaa and Kfarya.
The report argues that decisions to add or remove communities from UN OCHA besieged lists have been conducted without explanation. This includes the removal of Yarmouk at a time when 12,000 people were trapped, and the varying approaches to Saqba and Hazzeh which are both in similarly dire situations.
The Syria peace talks that fell apart last week in Geneva will resume on 25th February.