World, Middle East

Syrians recall life under siege in Al-Zabadani

On April 19, Some 3,700 people were evacuated from five besieged districts northwest of Damascus

Syrians recall life under siege in Al-Zabadani FILE PHOTO

By Adham Kako and Mohamed Misto


Syrians evacuated from Al-Zabadani district under a March 30 agreement between the Syrian regime and opposition groups have recounted their suffering in the besieged area.

On April 19, Some 3,700 people were evacuated from five besieged districts -- Madaya, Al-Zabadani, Al-Jabal al-Sharqi, Ain al-Fijah and Baqin -- northwest of Damascus.

The evacuees from Al-Zabadani were transferred to the opposition-controlled Idlib city.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Jamil al-Tinawi, head of the opposition’s local council of Idlib, said Al-Zabadani has been under siege by Hezbollah and other Shia militias since July 2015.

“This has resulted in deaths and starvation," he said.

"People started to die due to shortage of nutrition and medical supplies," Tinawi said, noting that people had to survive on trees leaves and grass.

Tinawi said that Al-Zabadani district received two aid convoys in 2015 but they were insufficient.

“Some 350 people died of hunger in the last days of the siege," he said, adding that there were no doctors or medicine in the district.

“A mother gave birth but the baby stayed alive for only 20 days. The mother could not breastfeed her baby due to lack of nutrition. The baby died of hunger,” Tinawi lamented.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Several rounds of peace talks -- in Geneva and the Kazakh capital Astana -- have so far failed to end the conflict, in which hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians are believed to have been killed to date.

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