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Opinion: Mass Starvation after Barrels and Chemical Weapons! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It is not surprising that the Syrian regime is deliberately starving thousands of people because it practiced this in the cellars of its prisons and against its opponents as a policy over a period of forty years of rule. Brutality is not alien to Iran whose generals manage the war in Syria on the ground and is behind the siege. It is also not surprising that Hezbollah, an extremist religious organisation, arranged for its men to oversee the siege until hunger and death struck civilians in Syria. This is because Hezbollah in Lebanon planted its missiles in the southern Shiite and Christian villages to use their inhabitants as shields and propaganda in its confrontation with Israel in 2006.

Today, 40,000 people are living, or rather, dying in the Syrian town of Madaya. Half of these people sought refuge in Madaya after fleeing from neighbouring towns to avoid being killed. They have been prohibited from leaving for the last six months by Assad’s forces and Hezbollah’s militias which also prohibited the entry of relief teams even though they have run out of food. Tens of people are dying of hunger and the rest have begun to resemble skeletons that are close to their graves. What is surprising is that the world, with its governments, armies, human rights organisations and media did not do anything tangible to stop the crime of death from “mass starvation” which it witnesses.

At the same time, there is a huge international coalition operation which bombs organisations such as ISIS and Al-Nusra Front because they carried out crimes against humanity which merit war. The question is: Why is there distinction between types of crime and criminals? How can there be silence on the biggest crime- the starvation of 40,000 people to death?

Formerly, the peak of the tragedy in Syria was the bombing of civilians until they were made homeless. Today the peak of the tragedy is the prevention of people from leaving so that they starve to death. The Syrian regime and the Iranians have surrounded the town with barbed wire and planted mines around it so that its inhabitants do not flee. The militias could have at least let them escape and then storm the town in order to seize it from the militants holed up inside it.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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