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Friday, 15 January 2016

As Syrians Starve, Airdrops are Needed



“We are being left to die.”

On Monday, the first UN aid convoys arrived to Madaya to deliver urgently needed aid to the town’s 42,000 residents. The aid came after a months-long siege enforced by Syrian regime forces. As aid was delivered, Syrians warned that the piecemeal delivery of humanitarian assistance would not be enough to stop the ongoing starvation of the one million Syrians living in besieged areas, and appealed to the international community to break the sieges across Syria—through airdrops if necessary:

“The piecemeal delivery of aid to Madaya will not stop the starvation of Syrian civilians. All Syrians in besieged areas need regular, unimpeded access to humanitarian aid, and they need it now. Any further delays or obstructions by any party to the conflict will only cost more innocent lives and condemn more children to starvation. But right now, there are no assurances that residents of Madaya—or any of 52 communities currently under siege—will have sustained access to the food, water and medical care they need.

“No one should live in fear of starvation, but this is the reality for roughly one million Syrians who are trapped in areas under siege. Deprived of basic food staples like flour and bread, families are resorting to eating leaves, rodents and insects. Many feel they are being abandoned—having been left behind to suffer, starve, and die.

“The suffering in Syria’s besieged areas is entirely preventable. The use of starvation as a method of warfare is a war crime. The Security Council has repeatedly prohibited the use of siege tactics by all parties to the Syrian conflict and authorised the United Nations to deliver humanitarian aid across conflict lines—irrespective of Syrian regime consent. But in too many places, the UN continues to wait for permissions and authorisations that it already has. In so doing it, it gives the Syrian regime the power to determine life and death in besieged communities. This is a power no government should rightfully have.

“All Syrians deserve food, water and medical care. If any party to the Syrian conflict denies such assistance, the UN should take steps to deliver it regardless. If the UN can’t provide the assistance Syrians need, we appeal to Member States to carry out airdrops to bring aid to those who need it and to break the sieges inside Syria. In some cases, this may be the only way to help those who are starving and ensure that more don’t die.”

Signatories

Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets) · Syrian NGO Alliance · Syrian Women's Network · Syrian Nonviolence Movement · Syrian Feminist Lobby · Mayday Rescue · Help4Syria · Kurds House · Peace and Justice for Syria · Rethink Rebuild Society · Scotland4Syria · Syrian Association of Yorkshire · Syrian Community of the South West UK · Syrian Platform for Peace ·Syria Relief Network · Syria Solidarity UK · Syrian Welsh Society · Syrian Community in Nottinghamshire


Save Our Syria is a coalition of Syrian civil society and humanitarian groups from inside and outside Syria.

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