Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government agreed on Thursday to allow United Nations humanitarian aid into Madaya, Foua, and Kfarya, three towns where people are dying of starvation due to attacks from both sides of the Syrian civil war.
Assad has only allowed in about 10% of U.N. aid offered in the past year.
Assad’s forces, alongside the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, have held Madaya under siege for six months. Cutting off food supplies to the city of 40,000, the Syrian military also placed land mines on the outskirts to prevent residents from fleeing.
The situation has grown so grave, residents have eaten all the stray cats and dogs, and can now only make soup from water, flower petals, oil leaves, and grass. The head of the Madaya medical council reports two or three people, especially the elderly, children, and the sick, die each day.
According to The Independent:
The situation is so desperate that starving residents spend their days trying not to move in an attempt to conserve energy. With temperatures falling, the Red Cross says locals have been forced to burn plastic to keep warm, exposing themselves to fumes.
That was after doors were removed to burn for heat.
Foua and Kfarya, two villages totaling 30,000 people, have been under siege by Assad’s enemies, anti-government forces, for over a year. Residents there are also eating grass to survive, undergoing surgery without anesthesia, and dying in numbers currently unknown.
“People who need medication in the two villages often must take drugs that are expired, and…mothers must crush grains of rice – when available – and boil the mixture to make baby food.” Water in the two towns is about to run out.
Some anti-Assad forces bombing and starving Foua and Kfarya are armed and supported by the United States and other Western powers. For example, Jaysh al-Fattah (the “Army of Conquest”) is participating in the siege; the Army of Conquest is made up of both Al Qaeda groups and “more moderate rebel factions” (New York Times) that are covertly armed by the U.S.
In 2015, internal Pentagon documents and admissions by the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency revealed the U.S. knowingly supported extremist terror groups like Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria.
Over 250,000 Syrians have died in the civil war and 4 million refugees have fled the country. Despite a massive death toll and conditions as horrific as starvation, many Americans do not want to allow Syrians to resettle in the United States.