Rebel forces in the west Damascus town of Buqayn have uncovered a cache of medicine and humanitarian aid, reportedly pilfered by regime forces for resale to the encircled civilian population at inflated prices, a journalist at the scene told Syria Direct on Tuesday.

The supplies were left in warehouses recently abandoned by the regime after reportedly withdrawing its forces without explanation.

“The store included antibiotics, baby milk and diapers, with some boxes even bearing a ‘not-for resale’ UNHCR logo,” said Abd al-Wihab Ahmad, who was at the checkpoint and is based in the west Damascus suburb of Madaya.

“Regime forces were working with outside vendors to purchase food and other necessities, which they then sell to the encircled populace” at inflated prices, Ahmad said.

“The soldiers at this checkpoint cut a deal with traders to get foodstuffs and medicine in,” Abu Ammar, the head of the only charitable organization in Buqayn, told Syria Direct Tuesday. His organization buys goods from traders and distributes them to residents for free.

“The soldiers would demand from the traders twice the price of the goods to be entered, which were then sold to traders inside the city at four times the price.”

Madaya activistspublished photographs of captured goods, including boxes bearing UNHCR logos, to Facebook on Tuesday.

 Some boxes of aid visibly bearing the UNHCR logo.

Regime forces reportedly abandoned the checkpoint stacked with food, medicine and other supplies suddenly, and without a fight, allegedly to buttress the Syrian army in the Damascus suburb of Harasta in East Douma, under rebel assault since Monday, noted al-Wihab.

Al-Buqayn, only 5km to the east of encircled Zabadani, also faces a three-month regime blockade, in addition to regime threats to bombard the town should its residents refuse to give up internally displaced persons, whom the regime claims are rebels in disguise.

- Photo courtesy of Madaya