Displaced Syrians begin hunger strike in solidarity with Madaya

Displaced Syrians begin hunger strike in solidarity with Madaya
Syrians in camps in the north of the country are protesting and refusing food in solidarity with Madaya, as the situation in besieged areas of Syria continue to worsen.
3 min read
07 January, 2016
A protest in Idlib in solidarity with Madaya [Getty]
Displaced Syrians in camps on the Syrian-Turkish border announced a hunger strike on Wednesday in solidarity with those in besieged Madaya, where the civilian population is starving to death as temperatures plunge to freezing.

Bassem Abu Mohammed, an activist, announced that the strike was in particular solidarity with many in Madaya who had yet to receive aid from international organisations.

"The strike is a message to the international community who have not moved to save thousands who are trapped alone to face killings and sieges which affect all of the civilian population in Syria," he said.

Several demonstrations in the north of Syria have condemned the siege imposed on the 40,000 in Madaya, including those who fled fighting and barrel bombs in the nearby town of Zabadani.
People are now moving skeletons

Jaber, a media activist in Madaya, told The New Arab that civilians in the town were suffering severe psychological trauma from the hunger and cold, and some had lost the ability to speak.

"People are now moving skeletons, as the price of a kilo of rice has risen to around 100,000 Syrian pounds [around $250]," he said.
Starving Syria
- Surrender or starve in besieged Syria
- Displaced Syrians begin hunger strike in solidarity with Madaya
- Diary from Moadamiyeh, a besieged Damascus suburb
- Social media reacts to the starvation of Madaya

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition forces have called for urgent international action from the UN and for the delivery of aid to Madaya, warning that any delay will kill more innocent people.

Activists have also launched a social media campaign using the Arabic language hashtag break the siege on Madaya, to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in the city.

Members of the international community have been urging action from the UN, with the circulation of an online petition, and sharing horrific images of the city's starving residents. 

On Saturday, a small demonstration in solidarity with Madaya and nearby Moadamiyeh took place outside Downing Street, the residence of the British prime minister. Protest organisers said the UK had "a responsibility to do all it can to end the Assad regime's use of starvation as a weapon against civilians".

Moadamiyeh is one of the many other towns and cities under siege in Syria who are demanding not to be forgotton.

Surrender, or be annihilated

On Wednesday, the town's representatives ended their negotiations with the Assad regime. According to the local council, the message from the government was simple: "Surrender, or be annihilated."

The council also said that there would be no future talks concerning the unblocking of the only road leading out of the city - which the Assad regime has closed.

"This dooms 45,000 civilians to starvation and shelling," read a press release from the town committee.

On Tuesday, the UK foreign office urged the Syrian government to allow aid to reach an estimated 400,000 civilians under siege in Syria.  

Read more: Surrender or starve in beseiged Syria