Local activist Qusai Zakarya has announced the end of a 33-day hunger strike in the besieged Damascus suburb of Moadamiya.
Zakarya began the fast on November 26 to demand the lifting of a months-long blockade by the Syrian military, with delivery of food and medicine. He maintained a diary throughout the strike.
Last week, the Syrian military and local groups announced a 48-hour truce to allow the provision of some assistance, in return for the raising of the regime flag over Moadamiya. Aid reportedly reached the town last Saturday; however, activists say conditions for deliveries are still disputed, and only a small amount of food has been delivered so far to the 8,000 people who remain in the town.
The regime is reportedly demanding the handover of weapons and the departure of all non-residents from Moadamiya.
Zakarya halted his strike on Saturday, saying he was handing over to an International Solidarity Hunger Strike launched on December 20 in support of Moadamiya.
According to organizers of the international strike, supporters include philosophers Jurgen Habermas, Seyla Benhabib, Slavoj Zizek, and Hilary Putnam; Bahraini human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja; Syrian media activists Razan Ghazzawi and Raed Fares; and poets Marilyn Hacker, Martin Espada, Khawla Dunia.
The strike will last until January 22, the scheduled date for a “peace” conference in Switzerland. Activists are calling for a binding United Nations resolution, mandating the delivery of food and supplies, before the conference convenes.
Meanwhile, Zakarya has spoken with Dutch television about the “so-called truce” in Moadamiya and the state of the civilian population:
We are living basically on olives and some leaves of trees and some green plants that we use to make salad. ….
The amount [of aid] was not enough after 15 months [of the siege]….It was only for one meal to escape international pressure….
We just want your help….We are humans just like you, and we want to live in freedom and dignity.