Dozens of people in the besieged southern suburbs of Damascus have died of starvation after spending months living on scraps of food, reports a British newspaper. For more than a year, nothing has been allowed in or out of a number of districts in the the sourthern suburbs of Damascus, according to the Telegraph.
“It is thought as many as tens of thousands living in Yarmouk Camp, home to settled Palestinian refugees, and Tadamon, have been stopped by the army from leaving and are struggling to get enough food,” the paper says. The situation in the camp hit the headlines three months ago when an imam gave permission to eat cats and dogs to avoid starvation.
Malnutrition has reached critical levels in recent months and now children and the elderly are dying, according to local residents. “Today a mother and her three children died after eating food that had gone off. They had nothing else. For weeks children have been dying,” said Susan Ahmed, an activist living in the suburbs.
Syrian opposition activists said they have recorded the names of 68 people who have starved to death in recent weeks. While the exact death toll cannot be independently verified, disturbing video footage has been uploaded to the Internet, showing skeletal figures lying on stretchers and hospital beds
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that President Bashar al-Assad might finally allow in some humanitarian convoys to parts of Damascus. “I’m pleased to say that Foreign Minister Lavrov indicated that he’s had some conversations with the regime, that the regime may be prepared to open up a number of areas,” Kerry said. “The proof will be in the actions that may or may not be taken in the days ahead.”