The media finally got their headline right.
They’ve been distorting their reporting from the region, first attacking Russia and then President Assad for “starving” people. Assad has actually given the green light for aid services to transport and dump food into these areas. Syria is not a rich country and never was. Muslims don’t pay tax either – so there are no backup funds. This war has left Syria in the poor house. They simply have no funds to look after civilians and fight a war. Both Russia and Assad’s forces stopped bombings during the period that UN-aid convoys delievered food and medicine. But the food that reaches these occupied and closed-in regions is stolen by the very “rebels” Obama wants to protect, and then sold at astronomical rates to the 125,000 trapped natives leaving those who cannot afford the food to starve. And that’s how it works in Africa too. There should be no more starving in Africa. There has been so much money and food donated to Africa they could live on it for decades without ever buying a single morsel. But the food is confiscated by local criminal gangs who keep local police and government on their bribery payroll, and don’t reach the victims. The fault in this system lies with the aid organizations, who keep dropping the packages from air rather than taking the military right into the conflict regions and distributing it direct to the people.
Doctors Without Borders say that 35 people have died of starvation in Syria’s Madaya alone since the beginning of December 2015, with more than 250 people suffering from severe acute malnutrition. That’s a tiny number of people.
During WW2 over 30 million civilians died while Europe fought Hitler – a Sunni fascist ally. Another 28 million starved to death. And now the Europeans stand so high and mighty and criticize Assad and Russia over a few hundred starved civilians. Russia with the Syrian government is fighting tooth and nail a horrid civil war created by Saudi Arabia and their Sunni allies; a war originating from the doctrines in the Wahhabi mosques. It’s a religious war of fanaticism to replace the powers to be with a Wahhabi-lead one.The Sunni Wahhabi’s have now created a coalition to fight this fascist war together.
Russia is fighting the battle the real way: they are closing off ISIS’s access to oil, access to transport, access to Turkish aid, access to money and access to paths to where Islamic state and their allies can bring in food and weapons (Turkey). That’s the tragedy how wars have to be fought. Iran’s Hezbollah needs to leave the region. It’s the removal of Hezbollah, not Assad, that is required right now.
The babies starved to death by Isis: Haunting faces of Syrian children killed by siege of Deir Ezzor, where a packet of rice costs £55 and people eat CATS to survive
- Infants starving to death in besieged Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, activists say
- Once healthy, chubby youngsters ‘have died or are now skin and bones’
- Mothers, ravaged by hunger, ‘can’t produce milk to keep their babies alive’
- Costs of basic food products have climbed so high no one can afford them
- Pitta breads now costs £30, a kilo of rice is £55, a kilo of sugar costs £70
- MailOnline travelled to Syrian border to meet those lucky enough to escape
By Nick Fagge On The Syrian Border For Mailonline
Published: 10:58, 15 February 2016 |
Pain etched across his emaciated face, this is 12-week-old baby Akab pictured just days before he starved to death – one of thousands of hungry children bearing the brunt of a brutal ISIS siege in Syria.
Lovingly swaddled by his mother, the soft blankets could not protect the beautiful infant with clear brown eyes from the ravages of malnutrition that ended his life at just three months old.
This is the reality of life in Deir Ezzor, a once-prosperous town at the heart of Syria’s oil industry but where women and children are now literally dying of hunger, according to testimony obtained by MailOnline.
Starving: Baby Akab is pictured, right, just days before he apparently starved to death at 12 weeks old. It is an agonising contrast with the healthy infant he used to be, left, before the starvation gripping the once-rich Syrian town of Deir Ezzor took his life.
Chubby cheeked: Baby Rafif is pictured at 18 months, just before the city came under siege by ISIS, trapping 125,000. In a heartbreaking contrast, she is pictured below after months of hunger took their toll. MailOnline has been told she died last month.
Malnourished: The city of Deir Ezzor has now been under siege for 11 months – and the result is children like such as Rafif, above, who apparently died last month, are now struggling to survive on the meagre rations the government sends in
In pain: Once a healthy, bright-eyed youngster with a mop of thick curly hair, left, five-year-old Othman now lies listless, right, another alleged victim of the siege of districts of Deir Ezzor, where the price of food has sky-rocketed.
Attention has so far focused on the south-western town of Madaya, but escaped refugees told MailOnline of the desperate plight of thousands trapped in Deir Ezzor.
A month’s rations from dictator Bashar al-Assad consists of just a handful of spaghetti, two triangles of processed cheese, 200g of margarine, 100g of sugar and 2 sachets of dried orange cordial.
The price of food has sky-rocketed as the only way to supply the besieged city is from the air in cargo planes that land at the military airfield.
‘So many children have died from starvation,’ shopkeeper Abul Qasim, who has recently escaped the siege told MailOnline.
He claimed: ‘The hospital is full of children suffering from hunger.
So many children have died from starvation. The hospital is full of children suffering from hunger.
Shopkeeper Abul Qasim, who has recently escaped the siege.
‘All of the children inside the siege at Deir Ezzor are malnourished. Many have diarrhoea, malabsorption and other diseases due to hunger.’
MailOnline has spoken to refugees who fled the town and to residents who are still trapped inside in an effort to verify online images of infants Akab, Rafif and Othman. Neighbours or Akab told of his mother’s descent into depression.
Activists said Rafif Fanoush, who is little more than skin and bones, died last month. In images that first circulated on Twitter, her desperately gaunt face is almost unrecognisable from the healthy toddler, pictured only months before.
Activists said she died last month, weighing only 5kg (12lbs), after taking her last breath in her mother’s arms, aged just a year and a half.
Full: Deir Ezzor hospital is said to be full of people suffering from malnutrition, on the point of death, while those who are strong enough queue for basics like water for up to 10 hours (pictured) as they wait for rescue
Scraps: The government rations are woefully inadequate – just a handful of spaghetti, two triangles of processed cheese, 200g of margarine, 100g of sugar and 2 sachets of dried orange cordial for a month
Emaciated: The rations are barely enough for a day – let alone 30. Activists released this image of a starving man apparently in Deir Ezzor.
Still clinging on to life is Othman, activists say. Once a healthy, chubby-faced youngster with a mop of thick curly hair, the five-year-old now lies listless, following an 11-month ISIS siege of districts of Deir Ezzor, which has stripped the 125,000 civilian population of their health, their dignity and their hope.
Tragic infant Akab Sukr Al Afery was one of these children.
He was born in the most desperate of situations – eight months after ISIS fanatics laid siege to the few districts of Deir Ezzor still under control of Bashar Al Assad’s regime in December last year.
His mother Manar Kassar al Daghim, herself ravaged by hunger, struggled to feed her baby as she could not produce the breast milk he needed.
Unable to afford the high price market traders demanded for the scarce reserves of baby milk formula, Manar apparently fed Akab a cocktail of starch and herbal tea, leaving the infant malnourished and suffering from anaemia.
She stays inside with her husband. She is not eating. She blames herself for Akab’s death. ‘Now she just wants to die. She wants to follow her son wherever he is to look after him, to protect him, even in death.
Neighbour of alleged starvation victim Akab, who died at three months old.
Now his heartbroken mother has retreated into her home and is deep in mourning. Neighbours told MailOnline she too is now starving. Akab’s father apparently had a nervous breakdown after his son died.
Manar told a neighbour: ‘I don’t want to live any more. I only want to be with my son.’
Her neighbour, Maria, told MailOnline: ‘Manar is very sad, depressed. She has not left her house since Akab died. She stays inside with her husband. She is not eating. She blames herself for Akab’s death.
‘Now she just wants to die. She wants to follow her son wherever he is to look after him, to protect him, even in death.’
Babies born into this closed off famine-ravaged city face a bleak future. Their hungry mothers are so weak they have no breast milk, a Red Crescent charity worker who was stationed inside the siege until two weeks ago has revealed. The infants are fed a sugar substitute, sucrose, diluted in water.
MailOnline has spoken to survivors of the siege who have escaped to Turkey, and has contacted families still stranded inside the besieged city via social network as well as activists.
Grief: Those who have escaped Deir Ezzor like this man describe a town where parents are left wishing for death after watching their children waste away to nothing, while they sit helpless to do anything to save them
Battle: One survivor told MailOnline he and his wife went without food to ensure their children had something.
One resident inside the city, Abdullah, 28, a student, said: ‘We hope we die when we see our children crying because they are so hungry.
‘This is the worst time of my life living under this siege.
‘The frustration eats away at our bodies as much as the hunger.’
Survivor Abul Qasim, who escaped the siege four months ago with his wife and three children, has revealed how life inside the besieged city has become a daily battle for survival.
‘It was horrible and upsetting that I was unable to provide for my children, for my family,’ the 35-year-old shopkeeper said.
‘It was the most horrible situation. People have become so weak from a lack of food they have come ill.
‘I would go without [food] to make sure my children had something to eat, my wife as well.’
Another survivor Abu Zufian has revealed normal life has completely broken down inside the besieged city as people scramble to find anything to eat.
‘There is no such thing as normal life inside the siege area of Deir Ezzor any more,’ Abu Zufian, 31, a electronics store owner, who escaped two months ago, said.
‘There is no daily routine. Everyone stays at home. You only see people at the army checkpoints, or at the hospital, which is full of children sick with disease because of the hunger and old people dying because there is no medicine.
Queue: People stay at home all day, only emerging to find food, like the bread these people are waiting for
Desperation: What food there is costs an unbelievable amount – with one man telling MailOnline he swapped his air conditioning unit for a 2kg bag of rice, while others had sold their houses. Pictured: The town before.
‘There is no breakfast or lunch. If people find food they cook it straight away, even if it were midnight. They wake up their children and give them something to eat. Even if that is just some hot water with a bit of salt and a bit of bread to keep them alive.’
Both men, now safely across the border from Syria, have told of the desperate measures – including prostitution and child trafficking – people are resorting to in order to feed their families.
Abul Qasim said: ‘Most of the people have no money. They survive by eating bread, no other kind of food.
For two months there has been no bread in Deir Ezzor. ‘People are eating grass, cats, dogs, even donkeys.
– Abu Zufrian, who escaped in November last year
‘My neighbour, Ahmad, exchanged his air conditioning unit for a 2kg bag of rice. He has a wife and three children to feed.
‘Other people sold their houses for money to buy food.’
Abu Zufrian, who escaped in November last year, claims the situation has deteriorated even further with people eating wild herbs and roots, grass, donkeys and even cats and dogs.
He said: ‘For two months there has been no bread in Deir Ezzor.
‘People are eating grass, cats, dogs, even donkeys.
‘One day I saw a man in his 50s walking around the streets trying to sell his baby son so he could get money to feed his other four children. He was a builder before the war. He said he would sell at any price but no one had any money so he didn’t sell the baby.
Breakfasts like this from before were a thing of the past, with people eating grass, cats, dogs and donkeys to survive
Agony: Those who cannot find the money elsewhere are left selling their bodies and even their children in a last ditch attempt to be able to put some food on the table. Pictured: Some low quality bread.
‘Women and girls are selling their bodies to feed their families.
‘They exchange sex for a packet of pitta bread loaves, or a 1kg bag of rice.
‘A man exchanged his car for 4kg of baby milk formula for his child.
‘People are selling everything they own – their air conditioning units, TV – for some rice or sugar, any kind of food.’
Built around an oasis on the banks of the river Euphrates in eastern Syria Deir Ezzor was once a bustling, prosperous town at the heart of the country’s oil industry.
But now the price of food has sky-rocketed as the only way to supply the besieged city is from the air in cargo planes that land at the military airfield.
Stable foods such as bread, rice, meat, cooking oil and vegetables have increased over 100 times from pre-war prices, making everyday items beyond the reach of many.
A packet of nine pitta bread loaves that used to cost the equivalent of $0.30 (20p) now costs the equivalent of $40 (£30), a 1kg packet of rice used to be $0.55 (38p) now it is $80 (£55), 1kg of goat meat used to cost $6 (£4) now it sells for $60 (£40), 1l of cooking oil was $1.10 (76p) now it is $50 (£34), 1kg of tomatoes was $0.08 (6p) now it costs $35 (£24), 100g of poor quality tea cost $0.60 (41p) now it is $25 (£17), 1kg of sugar was $0.40 (28p) now it is $100 (£69), a packet of 20 Syrian cigarettes was about $1.00 (69p) now it sells for $50 (£34).
Target: Deir Ezzor has been trapped between the rebels and the Syrian government since the start of the war, but in May 2015, ISIS cut off the final supply line to the regime-held area
Rich: The city, the seventh largest in Syria, was once known for its oil industry – but little remains.
Before the war both men that MailOnline talked to were prosperous and ran successful businesses. But their lives changed forever when they found themselves confined within a few districts of Deir Ezzor that government troops continued to hold despite fierce battles with the fanatical forces of ISIS.
Abul Qasim explained: ‘Before the uprising we had a good life. We had a house, a car, everything we needed.
‘I used to walk the children to school and then go to my shop. At the weekend I would take my children to the park to play. In the evening we would visit my parents, my brothers and sister, the family.
‘I had a happy life. I never imagined that I would ever leave my house.’
Abu Zufian added: ‘Before the war I had a good life. My family are well off. We own a building in the centre of Deir Ezzor. Me and my five brothers and four sisters each have an apartment. I am not married but I was surrounded by nephews and nieces. We were happy.
‘I have an electronics business. I liked it. I had a perfect life.
‘But we had to leave. We paid more than $25,000 (£17,200) to get everyone out.
‘Only my brother has stayed. He said he would look after our property. He said he would rather die there than leave.’
But as the siege took hold both men found their lives had changed forever.
Scarred: ISIS continue to battle the government for control of these last remaining outposts, and families are now willing to spend more than £17,000 to be smuggled out of the area to safety
Abandoned: The regime has been accused of failing to provide for those who sought shelter by some.
Abul Qasim fled his home and moved into the government-controlled part of the city after shelling damaged his house and shop.
Now he regrets his decision to seek sanctuary with the regime forces, who he accuses of failing to provide for civilians.
He said: ‘The regime controlled the bakeries. The soldiers just walk in and take what they want. They would push to the front of the bread queue.
‘Twice they shot into the crowd of people queuing for bread. They killed a woman I know who was in her 40s.’
Abu Zufian added: ‘I was a rich man. We had a vegetable garden and fruit trees. We had oranges, dates, lemons, mint, parsley, squash and aubergines.
‘One day I gave a man some fruit and he cried because he had not had any fresh vegetables or fruit for a month.’
He too accused the regime of failing to provide for the civilian population.
‘Only the army have bread,’ he said.
‘Now there are three types of people who can get food. People who have family working with the regime who have access to supplies; people who had money before the siege; people who have family working abroad who send them money.
‘The people who have no money they cannot buy food for their family. And there is no work so people cannot earn any money.’
Up to 80 per cent of the population no longer have regular meals, said a Red Crescent worker who identified himself as Mohammed.
He added: ‘There has been no bread for the people since November last year.’
Violence: One former resident described how government soldiers shot people dead in the queue for bread
Vulnerable: About half the population are ill with a flu-like sickness, refugees claim.
Mohammed warned that up to half of the population are suffering from a flu-like condition.
Political activists operating inside Deir Ezzor have highlighted the meagre rations issued by the Assad regime for a family for one month.
It consists of 100g spaghetti, two triangles of processed cheese, 200g of margarine, 100g of sugar and 2 sachets of dried orange cordial mix.
Water is also tightly controlled with civilians having to queue for up to 10 hours to get a ration of just 20 litres.
Abul Qasim says he knew he had to escape the city when their supplies of dried food, which had kept them nourished, ran out.
He explained: ‘It is our tradition to store food in the house – dried beans, flour, bulgar wheat, dates. Most people did this. We would also collect wild herbs and flowers and boil them with salt.
‘When the food from our store ran out I knew we had to escape.’
The shopkeeper sold his wife’s gold and borrowed money from friends to pay smugglers $3,000 (£2,000) to get him, his wife and their three children out of the city.
Forgotten: Deir Ezzor residents who have escaped say there is no choice but to run, with the only alternative being slowly starving to death because there is no food.
He said: ‘We had two prams. I put some possessions in one pram and the young children in the other. We walked for three and a half kilometres. Snipers were shooting at us. Finally we arrived in ISIS-controlled territory.’
Interrogated by ISIS members the shopkeeper was forced to attend a month-long religious training camp. Afterwards the family fled to Turkey.
Now Abul Qasim offers a bleak outlook for the tens of thousands of people stuck inside the besieged city.
‘I say to the people who are still inside the siege, you must escape, that is the only way to survive,’ he said.
‘I pray to God to protect them and help them get out. There is no food.
‘My grandmother is there, my aunts. I do not know what will happen to them.’