Darayya residents in plea for aid to encircled town: ‘What are you waiting for?’


February 22, 2016

 A scene from Sunday’s protest in Darayya. Sign reads: “We are not numbers… We are Syria’s future… Save us from death and siege… Save your future… Darayya: Syria’s Oldest Besieged City.” Photo courtesy of Darayya Media Center.

AMMAN: Dozens of women and children in the regime-encircled southwest Damascus suburb of Darayya took to the streets Sunday to ask the international community: “We are living under the longest running siege in Syria. What are you waiting for to help us?”

“We don’t get any aid and there aren’t even diapers for the babies, but the barrel bombs and the shells keep falling,” said a boy at the protest, as seen in a video posted by the Darayya Media Center Sunday.

Darayya, rebel-held inside, has been completely encircled since November 2012, during which time regime forces have bombarded the city with over 6,600 barrel bombs, according to a report by the Darayya Media Center. Images of the town are reminiscent of Dresden at the end of World War II.

Last week, as part of an international agreement in Munich stipulating “sustained delivery of assistance” to Syria’s besieged areas, five such cities and towns received aid, including Darayya’s neighbor Moadhamiyet a-Sham.

The series of aid deliveries did not include Darayya, which had been connected to Moadhamiyet a-Sham until last month, when the Syrian regime completed a military campaign to cut the road connecting the two towns.

Darayya activists say they pleaded with the UN delegation that delivered food to neighboring Moadhamiyet last Tuesday to include Darayya in their distribution efforts.

“We told them: You are only a few meters from Darayya. Why don’t you deliver aid there as well?” said Darayya based activist Sultan a-Shami.

“Their response was that it’s out of their hands; that they couldn’t go into Darayya without the regime’s approval,” said a-Shami.

Without access to humanitarian aid or outside markets, Darayya residents have depleted stores of many foodstuffs and those that remain are sold at an increase of 200-500 percent of pre-conflict prices.

 “A kilo of sugar now costs SP20,000,” Darayya activist Muhanad Abu Zein told Syria Direct on Monday.

While Darayya activists have not documented any deaths by starvation, a lack of access to medicine and medical equipment has resulted in several preventable deaths, said Abu Zein.

“Local farming can help to stave off hunger to a certain extent, but you can’t farm medicine.”

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