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Assad's Campaign Of Starvation

A woman squats next to her buckets as she waits for her turn to receive a free meal from a soup kitchen in the city of Raqqa, eastern Syria, Oct. 7, 2013.

The Syrian government has been blocking nearly all aid, including food and medicine.

The Assad regime’s violence against the Syrian people is all too well known, and the international community has condemned its brutal tactics of using chemical weapons and bombing schools, bakeries, hospitals, and refugee camps. But the regime’s usage of one of the cruelest weapons against entire communities within Syria — starvation — has up to now largely gone unnoticed by the global community.

Assad's Campaign Of Starvation
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In what some Assad regime supporters have reportedly called the "starvation until submission campaign", the Syrian government has been blocking nearly all aid, including food and medicine, from reaching several thousand civilians who remain trapped in besieged areas, particularly in the Damascus suburb of Mouadhamiyah.

Writing in a recent editorial column, Secretary of State John Kerry noted that both sides of the conflict are causing problems. The U.N. and non-governmental organizations have observed extremist opposition fighters preventing aid from reaching those in need and violating the human rights of the people trying to deliver them.

“But it is the regime's policies that threaten to take a humanitarian disaster into the abyss,” wrote Secretary Kerry. “The Assad government is refusing to register legitimate aid agencies. It is blocking assistance at its borders. It is requiring U.N. convoys to travel circuitous routes through scores of checkpoints to reach people in need. The regime has systematically blocked food shipments to strategically located districts, leading to a rising toll of death and misery.”

In response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation inside Syria, the United Nations Security Council issued a Presidential Statement October 2 calling on all parties to facilitate immediate humanitarian assistance to affected persons, including through safe and unhindered access to such populations in all areas under their control and across conflict lines.

“To bolster the U.N.'s position, every nation needs to demand action on the ground -- right now.

Simply put, the world must act quickly and decisively to get life-saving assistance to the innocent civilians who are bearing the brunt of the civil war. To do anything less risks a lost generation of Syrian children traumatized, orphaned, and starved by this barbaric war,” wrote Secretary of State Kerry.

“With winter approaching quickly, and the rolls of the starving and sick growing daily, we can waste no time. Aid workers must have full access to do their jobs now. The world cannot sit by watching innocents die.”