Starving Madaya: A story of shame
Date: 2016-01-08 17:48
Pictures and videos of people from Madaya have recently gone viral across media outlets showing Assad’s and Hezbollah’s atrocities towards this Lebanon-neighboring town.
The footage showed people so severely starved and malnourished that they had to resort to eating leaves and boiling spices with water in an attempt to survive this 6 month-old siege that has dried up all of the town’s resources.
This siege, enforced by Assad and Hezbollah, has become an obvious attempt in satisfying the demographic change planned for.
To understand what is happening in Madaya, one must go back to the events starting from the city of Zabadani. Assad loyalists had continuously and with difficulty tried to break into this Madaya-neighboring city since 2012. When Assad failed, he called upon his ally Hezbollah to lend a helping hand in terrorizing the city. With Zabadani fighters’ resilience, Hezbollah had to resort to sending many of its finest men until it was able to break into Zabadani and gain control of 80% of the city, after the two partners had launched more than 3,000 barrel bombs and hundreds of missiles on to the people residing in Zabadani.
The siege on Madaya began in parallel with the Assad and Hezbollah aggression on the people of Zabadani.
Planning for the siege
In the next step and after the persistence of 600 fighters to stand their grounds and not leave Zabadani a truce was put forward. The truce stated that by 2/7/2015 a ceasefire must take place, the injured must be let out and the siege on Madaya, which harbored 20,000 residents, must be broken.
During the implementation of the cease-fire, Assad began implementing the demographic change policy. He began shoving the families of Zabadani into neighboring Madaya, gradually the population of Madaya reached 40,000.
In this way, Assad and Hezbollah would inflict on those who stayed a genocide by starving them to death or pushing them to voluntarily flee from the area.
Starvation is a moneymaker
Day by day, as the siege tightened on the throats of the people in Madaya, Hezbollah militias and Assad loyalists turned the siege into their own profitable business; the more the people got hungry, the more money they made.
Some families of the upper-class were able to get out of Madaya after Hezbollah militia’s agreement on the condition that it will cost 1500 USD per person.
The latest news announced that Hezbollah militia suggested to buy the lands and houses from the residents of Madaya in exchange for food or for some to leave the besieged town.
In order to further tighten the siege, 6,000 landmines were planted around the 5 square kilometers town.
Due to the siege, the prices of food skyrocketed making the price of rice and bulgur to reach the highest number ever recorded before; 1 kg of rice for 100,000 Syrian pounds which equals to 0, while 1 kg of Nido children’s milk reached a price of 300 USD.
One of the people residing in the besieged town offered his car in exchange for 10 kg of rice and 2 kg of milk.
The people under siege could not cope with the intensity of the prices and the greed of the traders so they turned to eating leaves and grass.
The last week of December, 5 young men gave themselves up to Assad loyalists in return for their families to be transported to an Assad-controlled town east of Zabadani in hopes for their families regain their lives.
With starvation grasping every moving body in Madaya, snipers targeting all who try to escape and landmines surrounding this small town, 37 people have been reported dead so far, of whom 11 were children.
The UN responded to the cries of the besieged people of Madaya by releasing a statement condemning the crimes committed in the town against the civilians. The international organization confirmed later that after communicating with Assad regime, it allowed a passageway to get the urgently needed aid into the besieged areas.
The starving people in Madaya are now waiting for the humanitarian aid to reach along with a committee that could document what they have been enduring for half a year now and perhaps protect the lives of the innocent malnourished children.