Last week, horrible photos and videos emerged on Social Media showing starving Syrians in the town of Madaya who were eating grass and leaves in order to survive.
The image of a very malnourished child crying, the corpse of a skeletal man, and a woman cooking grass in boiling water as a source of food were also shared on social media.
Madaya is about 15km northwest of the capital, Damascus, close to the Lebanese border. Some 42,000 are said to be living in the town. The civil war in the country has badly affected the town. In their fight against the rebels, Syrian government troops have besieged the town for some months now.
Reuters reports that the siege began six months ago, when the Syrian army and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, started a campaign to re-establish President Bashar al-Assad’s control over areas along the Syrian-Lebanese border. The last time Madaya received food aid was back in mid-October 2015. Civilians who have tried to flee the town, were reportedly killed. Therefore, residents were forced to stay in the town and starve to death.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have said that at least 28 people, including six babies under one year of age, have died from hunger-related causes in Madaya. MSF also said they have identified 250 people with severe acute malnutrition, including 10 patients who are in immediate need of lifesaving hospitalization.
But as these sad incidents are occurring in Madaya, supporters of President Assad took to Social Media to mock residents of the town who are suffering.
Assad supporters are supporting the siege of the town. And they are posting pictures of lavish meals, mocking the starving residents of the town. They have also created a hashtag, written in Arabic, saying “solidarity with the siege of Madaya.”
Mic.Com published some of the sad and mocking comments made by President Assad supporters. The supporters of the siege of the town used Twitter and Facebook to do what many people described as the ‘unthinkable’. Some people who saw the mocking pictures replied with strong words, wondering what could cause people to mock their fellow human beings who are facing such a catastrophic humanitarian disaster.
However, the United Nations (UN) and some International Aid Organizations have managed to get food and relief items to residents of Madaya. This was after the Syrian government, and rebels agreed to let supplies into besieged areas of the country.
— Omar Al Shirazi (@Abriel2twit) January 8, 2016
After arriving in the town, the UN’s World Food Programme, the International Red Cross, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent testified that the situation is very disturbing, confirming the social media content that prompted the aid delivery. The UN also said it has “credible” reports of people starving to death and being killed when trying to leave the town.
— karen munro (@BaileyPittipat) January 11, 2016
The Syrian civil war began in the early spring of 2011. It was a nationwide protest against President Bashar al-Assad’s government; however, it soon degenerated into an armed conflict, with rebel forces vowing to remove Assad from power. It has been estimated that between 140,000 and 350,000 people have died so far from the conflict. In March 2015, Al Jazeera estimated that some 10.9 million Syrians—almost half the population—have been displaced, and 3.8 million have been made refugees in other countries.
The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that some 12 million people in Syria are in dire need of aid. The organization is therefore soliciting for support from individuals and benevolent organizations. You can click here to support the campaign with the little you have.
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