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Syrian opposition urges UN food drops on besieged districts

Syrian opposition and civil workers have called for an end to the sieges [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2016

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The United Nations and Western air forces should drop emergency aid on besieged opposition-held towns, the Syrian opposition said on Thursday.

The Syrian opposition have called on the international community to break the regime's sieges of three Damascus suburbs - by force if necessary - which has led to the death of dozens of civilians.

Around 90,000 civilians are trapped in Madaya, Moadamiyeh and Zabadani - all on the outskirts of the capital Damascus - which has been besieged by Syrian regime forces for years.

Humanitarian aid has been blocked by regime forces leading to a slow death by starvation and disease of dozens of Syrians, including children.

The situation has deteriorated so badly over the past weeks of the blockade that it is believed hundreds are at risk of death.

This has led the Syrian Coalition to come out and urge the United Nations to take drastic action to prevent the humanitarian situation from worsening.

"Life-saving aid must be air dropped to civilians trapped inside, as long as the Assad regime and Hizballah militias continue to block the entry of relief aid through land routes," part one of a four point statement urged.

The Syrian Coalition also called for United Nations Security Council members to discusss whether Damascus has broken resolution 2254.

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The resolution adopted in December calls for an immediate ceasefire by warring parties and a political solution to the crisis.

"The UN Security Council should assume its responsibility to save the lives of civilians, most importantly children and women," the statement read.

The coalition also demanded the Arab League take "necessary action" against the regime's siege on the three suburbs.

International human rights groups and relief agencies must also do more to break the blockade and reach starving civilians, the statement read.

Supporters of the opposition have also called on Western powers, currently bombing Islamic State group territories, to instead direct their aircraft on besieged areas and make food drops.

Syria Solidarity has demanded the UK air force drop food and medical supplies on Madaya.

Over the past month, at least 31 people have died of starvation in Madaya and 1,000 more civilians are critically close to starving, the group has said.

Reports have emerged of people eating leaves, cats and garbage to survive.

In Moadamiyeh, activists said that a local committee sent to negotiate with the regime returned with a message from Damascus - "surrender or you will be annihalated."

Human rights groups have said that the Syrian regime is using food as a weapon against rebel fighters and civilians in opposition areas

Human rights groups have said that the Syrian regime is using food as a weapon against rebel fighters and civilians in opposition areas.

The United Nations announced on Thursday that the Syrian regime will allow in emergency aid into the besieged territories, but many believe that Damascus will renege on their promise.

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