MERRY X MAS FOR THE WESTERN DEMOCRATIC WORLD ! : Syria Spotlight: 1,000s Of Civilians In Besieged Damascus, Homs Denied Aid, Rights Group Says

EAworldview : 4.12.2013 -Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that thousands of Syrians in besieged areas of West and East Ghouta, including the town of Moadamiyyat ash-Sham (Moadamiya), as well as in the Old City of Homs, are being denied vital humanitarian food and medical aid. Residents from south Damascus, Moadamiya, and Eastern Ghouta told HRW that government forces have tightened the siege in the last several months.

A member of the local council in East Ghouta was quoted as saying:

Government forces sometimes allowed some people to leave and bring back food and other supplies through a checkpoint in Yarmouk as long as they did not use their cars. Several months ago, however, the soldiers sealed off the checkpoint completely, preventing people from bringing anything in. Since then we have had no bread at all.

The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos told the UN Security Council on November 1 that around 288,000 people are in areas under government siege in Damascus, the Damascus countryside, and Homs.

“We can’t fight the cold

HRW said that it has interviewed 11 local activists and residents from the Old City of Homs, Damascus, and in towns in the Damascus countryside, including Moadamiya, Douma, Yalda, Yarmouk, and Erbin.

One local activist in Moadamiya told Human Rights Watch:

The only food we have left is olives, some basic vegetables, and we eat the leaves off the trees. Sometimes we cook soup using some of the vegetables, add salt and pepper and olive oil, but it tastes like nothing and it provides little nutrition. This has been the situation since August when all of Moadamiya ran out of food.

People’s faces are yellow because of malnutrition and all of us have lost a lot of weight. I myself lost about 17 kilograms in the last four months. We start to feel cold very quickly. We can’t fight the low temperatures. That is now one more enemy for us – the cold. It is a terrifying situation. It is a race against time.

A local activist in Moadamiya also said that regime shelling had destroyed three hospitals in the town, and that medical workers were treating patients in a field clinic in a basement.

Other civilians HRW interviewed said that, even though some of the besieged areas contain or are adjacent to farmland, planting and harvesting these areas has become increasingly dangerous because government forces attack anybody they see in the farmlands.

Injured, sick civilians in besieged areas treated in improvised “clinics”

Local activists and medical personnel also told HRW that the medical situation in the besieged areas is critical. In some besieged areas, government shelling has destroyed local hospitals, forcing medical personnel to treat patients in improvised field clinics.

Medical workers and local activists in the besieged area told Human Rights Watch that the blockade had prevented them from receiving medicines and medical supplies for months and that they had run out of many basic medical supplies crucial for treating patients, such as blood, antibiotics, bandages, and anesthetics.

“UN should adopt resolution demanding humanitarian access

HRW has called on Amos, who is set to brief the UN Security Council on Tuesday, to ask the Security Council to adopt a resolution demanding access for humanitarian organizations to deliver aid such as food and medicine to the besieged areas. “People in Syria are desperate for food, shelter and health care,” HRW’s UN director Philippe Bolopion said Tuesday. “Access to besieged communities is a litmus test for real change in the relief effort, and the Security Council should make clear that Syria is failing that test,” he added.