اجعلنا صفحة البداية RSS خدمة Add to favorite Facebook Twitter

Advanced

Syria army using starvation as 'weapon of war' in Yarmouk
Published Monday 10/03/2014 (updated) 12/03/2014 13:10
Font- Font+
A woman cries as residents wait to receive food parcels from UN
agency, at Syria's besieged Yarmouk refugee camp, south of
Damascus, on February 24, 2014.(UNRWA/AFP/File)
BEIRUT (AFP) -- The Syrian army has been using starvation as a "weapon of war" in its siege of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Amnesty International said on Monday.

In a report on the plight of Palestinian and Syrian civilians in Yarmouk, the rights watchdog said nearly 200 people have died since an army siege was tightened in July 2013 and access to food and medicine cut.

The document, entitled "Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk: War crimes against besieged civilians," said 128 of the deaths were caused by starvation.

"Life in Yarmouk has grown increasingly unbearable for desperate civilians who find themselves starving and trapped in a downward cycle of suffering with no means of escape," Amnesty's Philip Luther said in a statement.

Amnesty said the siege of Yarmouk was "the deadliest of a series of armed blockades of other civilian areas, imposed by Syrian armed forces or armed opposition groups on a quarter of a million people across the country."

Syrian troops have laid siege to the camp as near-daily battles rage between rebels and pro-regime fighters in the sprawling southern Damascus suburb.

The violence has prompted the exodus of tens of thousands of Yarmouk's 170,000 residents. Some 20,000 are still trapped inside the camp, facing hardship and hunger, according to the UN refugee agency UNRWA.

'Repeated attacks on civilians'

Amnesty also charged that government forces and their allies have repeatedly launched attacks, including air raids and shelling with heavy weapons, on civilian buildings in the camp.

"Launching indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, leading to deaths and injuries, is a war crime," it said.

"To repeatedly strike a heavily populated area, where the civilians have no means of escape, demonstrates a ruthless attitude and a callous disregard for the most basic principles of international humanitarian law," Luther said.

Amnesty also said at least 60 percent of those who have remained in Yarmouk are said to be suffering from malnutrition, with residents not having eaten fruit or vegetables for months.

"Syrian forces are committing war crimes by using starvation of civilians as a weapon of war," Luther said.

"The harrowing accounts of families having to resort to eating cats and dogs, and civilians attacked by snipers as they forage for food, have become all too familiar details of the horror story that has materialized in Yarmouk."

It said aid delivered to the camp was "woefully inadequate to meet basic needs."

Children and the elderly had suffered the most, according to the report. "Eighteen children including babies have died. Complications have also arisen from residents eating inedible or poisonous plants and dog meat."

It said hospitals have run out of basic medical supplies, while residents had told Amnesty armed opposition groups had looted supplies and stolen ambulances.

Once a buzzing commercial and cultural hub, Yarmouk has suffered massive destruction because of frequent clashes, shelling and air raids.

Syria is officially home to nearly 500,000 Palestinian refugees. Half of them have been displaced by the conflict in Syria since it broke out in March 2011.
Print
1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
10/03/2014 17:03
Where's the flotilla?

2 ) Arnold / Canada
10/03/2014 21:15
Like Brian Cohen my question is - where is everyone ? Oh. I see Arab pissing and shitting on another Arab is Halal. ( we say Kosher )

3 ) Haram Aleykoum / Syria
10/03/2014 23:16
Shame on all those involved on perpetuating the misery of the people of Yarmouk. Those who are complicit in this will be judged on Yom Al Qiyam (Judgement Day) by Allah swt, to whom they will have to answer why they have allowed the innocent to suffer in such a terrible way. They have surely abandoned Islam by doing this to the people of Yarmouk.

4 ) @Brian #1 / Israel
11/03/2014 05:49
Why would there be a flotilla?? No Jews or Israelis were involved.

5 ) Why don't they come home to / Palestine
11/03/2014 08:30
How come Jews who are persecuted Do want to come back to their HOMELAND????
Name Country
Comment
Characters
Note: Comments will be reviewed for appropriate content. Click here for more details.

Share/Bookmark

European safety agency to recommend airlines avoid Tel Aviv
France's Fabius blasts Palestinian deaths as unacceptable
Israel says no reason to cancel flights after rocket fire

Close Next Previous
All Rights Reserved © Ma'an News Agency 2005 - 2014