UN again refuses food, aid to Moadamiyeh as residents protest crippling regime siege

Jun 02, 2015

By Dani al-Qappani in Moadamiyeh

02-06-2015: A senior UN representative visiting Moadamiyeh today as part of a delegation in the company of regime officials, told residents of the town that the UN “can’t in any way bring any food or medicine” to the besieged civilians, despite rising illness, endemic malnutrition and increasing numbers of deaths from starvation due to the continuing regime siege.

The UN officials were met on their arrival by massive protests by residents of Moadamiyeh, now under regime siege for over two years, who called for the lifting of the crippling siege and the release of detainees from the town held in Assad’s infamous prisons, including women and children. The UN delegation, headed by Shakeeb al-Raies the chief of the UN’s Syria bureau, Khawla Matar, the head of the UN envoy to Syria Stefan de Mistura’s office, and Angelin Gabriel Matei, the UN’s Chief Security Officer for Syria, visited the besieged town in order to write yet another report for de Mistura. The regime will not allow any UN or other officials to visit besieged areas without a regime escort, supposedly to protect the officials but in reality to attempt to intimidate residents into silence.

During the UN officials’ visit, representatives of the town council took them to see some of the neighbourhoods, schools, mosques and other facilities destroyed in regime bombardment since 2011. They also toured the hospital whose staff are struggling to provide treatment for tens of thousands of residents without even the most basic medical supplies, medicines and equipment which the regime does not allow into the town.
Despite the supposed regime ‘truce’ introduced in 2014, the town is still under a crippling siege and surrounded by regime checkpoints, where residents are routinely strip-searched to ensure that they are not attempting to bring in any food, medicine or other humanitarian aid. Those attempting to do so are routinely arrested or simply summarily executed.

The UN’s latest visit to the town is widely viewed by residents as yet another piece of political theatre by the regime and the UN, with one resident saying, “The visit’s only meant to save Assad by misrepresenting the so-called truce in Moadamiyeh as perfect in order to sell de Mistura’s ‘political solution.’”

The UN’s and Assad regime’s continuous attempts to force the Syrian people into accepting a ‘political solution’ allowing Assad to stay is flatly rejected by the people of Moadamiyeh as by most of Syria. In the words of another resident of the town speaking after the latest UN visit, “We refuse any political solution that doesn’t force Assad to leave and doesn’t break the siege of Moadamiyeh. We’ll fight again if we’re forced to do so.”

Report and photo showing some of the protesters who greeted the UN delegation from Dani al-Qappani