Break the Sieges

“We are too weak to walk or to cover the story. I was at the makeshift hospital and there were 200 who fainted today. Yesterday alone seven people were poisoned from eating raw cat meat that wasn’t cooked properly. The situation is really bad. We have infants who died because they didn’t have any milk. Today a family ate thorns.” — a media activist in Madaya.

This is Madaya, a town of 40,000. But there are over a million Syrians living under siege today. Checkpoints and barricades surround these areas. There is no food or medicine beyond what can be grown locally or smuggled in and bought at exorbitant prices. There is no freedom of movement.

Hundreds have died from starvation and many thousands more from malnutrition-related illnesses and a lack of medical supplies. Injuries go untreated and there isn’t enough baby milk. The bombing is constant. In some places this has been going on for years. While Isis and the rebels are both besieging areas, it is the Assad regime that is blocking aid to 99% of civilians under siege.

UN aid agencies have been authorised by the Security Council to deliver life-saving food and medicine to these besieged towns. Their trucks are just minutes away in many cases, but the UN refuses to deliver aid without the Assad regime’s approval. That’s why most besieged people haven’t seen a loaf of bread from the UN in over a year.

Sign the petition to the UN’s aid chiefs demanding they break the sieges in Syria.

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

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