The suffocating siege imposed upon the town of Madaya in Damascus Suburb resumed its sixth month, causing one of the worst humanitarian crisis resultant of the blockade policy of the Syrian regime; which has been carried out on a large-scale in a number of Syrian cities and towns since April 2011 until the present day. The suffocating siege on Madaya started on 01/07/2015, bearing in mind that the partial siege of the town had begun in 2014.
The acute lack of food and medicine in the town of Madaya led to the emergence of severe cases of emaciation among the town’s residents, whose population was approximately 15000 people in 2011. Due to the siege, the death rate rose to three people per day in the first five days of 2016, and the rate of fainting from hunger rose to 160 cases, daily.
The Syrian regime forces impose the blockade on the town mainly through landmines, which have been planted extensively in all the city outskirts. This is due to the impossibility of deploying troops in sufficient numbers around the town, and the impossibility of control over specific points by a sniper or a military point, as was the case in other besieged towns in Damascus Suburbs and the old city of Homs. Anti-personnel landmines have led to the injury of at least 15 people who were trying to get out of town.
Madaya was initially included in the truce agreement that was signed between armed opposition brigades and the Syrian regime, in order to lift the blockade of Zabadani and Madaya, in addition to the villages of Kefraya and Alfoo’a; however the town of Madaya was then excluded in the final application of the agreement.
Despite the tragic humanitarian situation experienced by the town of Madaya, there has been no record of any stance from the United Nations or its authorised agencies regarding the situation, although it was an intermediary in cease fire agreement reached on 09.20.2015. The UN have not made any efforts from its side to exert pressure towards introducing humanitarian aid to the town, or to any besieged by area before, rather the UN just waits to reach an agreement between the different parties in order to deliver aid, and oversee the evacuation of residents from the besieged areas, in dangerous precedent of the international organization’s work.
The Syrian regime has begun using the policy of blockade since the second month of the start of the popular protests in Syria, where it was first applied to the city of Daraa. Later and since mid-2012, the blockades were applied on a larger in a number of areas, including: the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Moadamieh, Zabadani, Madaya, Yalda in Damascus Suburbs, the old city of Homs and Alwaer neighbourhood in the city of Homs.