FAIRFIELD, Conn. January 16, 2017 — Two weeks since the start of the ceasefire agreement in Syria brokered by Russia and Turkey on December 30, the majority of besieged areas have yet to receive any humanitarian aid despite the freezing winter conditions.
Medical casualties who urgently need to be evacuated for treatment are being prevented from leaving, including children. In the besieged town of Madaya, a 10 year-old boy who was seriously injured in a missile strike more than a month ago has been prevented from leaving, and his family fear he will lose his sight if he does not receive proper attention soon.
Following the end of the siege in East Aleppo, the UN says there are now 546,000 people living under siege in up to 15 locations across Syria, including Madaya, Douma, al-Waer and Deir ez-Zour and other areas.
Only one area has received aid by road so far this year – a convoy was sent to Moadamiya on the outskirts of Damascus on January 7. It included food, educational materials and some health supplies, but surgical material and medical equipment were taken off, including parts of pneumonia kits. It was the first delivery of humanitarian relief to the area for more than two months.
In December, there was also only one aid delivery to a besieged area, Khan Eshieh, which means hundreds of thousands of people across Syria have not received any assistance for months.
Residents in Madaya report freezing conditions with no fuel for heating and snipers preventing people from collecting firewood, scenes which are repeated in other besieged areas.
A teacher in the town said yesterday: “The situation is really bad. We are tired and exhausted, we are always getting hit with bombs and rockets and the snipers are always shooting. We are so tired, it’s freezing and snowing.”
“Save the Children believes that getting aid to children and their families who have been trapped for months or years on end with limited food, water and medical care must be the first priority during any cessation of hostilities,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. “We urge the parties to the conflict to immediately grant access to relief convoys and to stop stalling on permits and permissions.”
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