PHOTO: Claimed message from children in Madaya: “Ask the UN Security Council to Intervene Rapidly to Save Us”


Jump to Original Entry

UPDATE 1645 GMT: Red Cross official Pawel Krzysiek sends a photograph from Madaya:

A UN official comments:

UPDATE 1045 GMT: Video of Red Crescent trucks loaded with aid for Madaya:

Trucks are also reportedly moving from Hama Province north towards the regime enclaves of al-Fu’ah and Kafraya in Idlib Province.

Red Cross officials arriving in Madaya to negotiate the delivery of aid:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The UN, Red Cross, and Syrian Red Crescent are hoping to deliver aid on Monday to thousands of people in Madaya, northwest of Syria’s capital Damascus, who are threatened with starvation amid a six-month siege by the Syrian military and Hezbollah.

As international attention grew to the plight of about 40,000 people in Madaya, the Assad regime relented last week and agreed that UN could bring assistance into the town.

However, more people perished over the weekend as residents awaited the aid. Five died on Sunday, and a local activist said two more passed away on Monday morning, bringing the total to more than 60 since the start of December.

The siege was imposed on Madaya last July as Hezbollah and the Syrian military tried to overrun nearby Zabadani. Despite a ceasefire in late September, only one aid convoy of a few days’ food and supplies was delivered in mid-October. The Red Cross had hoping to provide some relief in late December amid the evacuation of rebels, their families, and the wounded from the area, but they were unable to do so.

Residents, journalists, NGOs, and activists report residents resorting to the killing of cats and meals of grass and leaves. Others are being kept alive by saline solution. Those who try to collect firewood and grass or to flee Madaya are at risk from snipers and mines.

See Syria Daily: Threat of Starvation Grows for 40,000 in Madaya

In an article on Sunday about the crisis, the New York Times concluded:

Samar Hussein, a nurse, was one of a dozen residents interviewed. She said she had spent $40 last month for a few spoonfuls of sugar for her 19-year-old daughter, who had passed out, and the baby her daughter was trying to breast-feed. She and several families recently shared a soup made with one cup of bulgur wheat, gathering together to cook it because there was little wood. On the street, she said, she saw a woman picking grass to eat and did not realize at first that it was her neighbor.

“She looks so different,” she said. “So skinny.”

The UN reported in November that about 393,000 Syrians are living under siege conditions: 200,000 by the Islamic State in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria; 181,000 by the Syrian military in areas throughout the country; and 12,000 by the rebels in two regime enclaves north of Idlib city in northwest Syria.

The UN said that the Assad regime approved only 6 of 69 aid access requests by the UN children’s organization UNICEF in 2015 up to November, and that it blocked 21 requests by the World Food Program.

Russian Airstrikes, Regime Offensive Near Salma in Latakia Province

Supported by Russian bombardment, regime forces and Hezbollah have launched a fierce attack near Salma, the most significant rebel position in northern Latakia Province in western Syria.

The offensive is being pursued from four directions on Salma, with Russian warplanes using vacuum missiles among their weapons, according to the rebels.

The rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham earlier warned of “critical conditions” for defenders and asked all groups for reinforcements and/or attacks on other fronts to relieve the pressure of the offensive.

The rebels have held Salma since July 2012 as a position within Latakia, one of the bases of the Assad family and regime.

Regime Offensive Renewed South of Aleppo

The Syrian military, working with foreign forces and covered by intense Russian airstrikes, has renewed its offensive south of Aleppo city.

The regime made limited gains in the area between October and December, taking the town of al-Hader, but it was stopped short of the objective of the highway between Aleppo and Homs. The offensive includes Iranian commanders and troops, Hezbollah fighters, and Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani militias.

The latest attacks appear to be carried out from Khan Touman, targeting the town of al-Rashidin.

Rebels claim they have repelled regime forces and Iraqi militias, after initially retreating in the face of Russian airstrikes. They claimed the killing of more than 70 regime troops and militia.

Activists and journalists report Russian airstrikes on Monday on al-Rashidin, Kafrnaha, Khan al-Asl, Kafrjoum, Sheikh Ali, and Kafrhamra.

Claimed video of victims under rubble after a Russian attack on Anjarah — reports indicate that at least eight children have died when a school was hit, with some activists saying the toll is higher:

Graphic photos have been posted of injured children.

The damaged school:


Death Toll Reaches 96 from Saturday’s Russian Airstrike on Idlib Town

The death toll from Saturday’s Russian airstrike on Maarat al-Num’an, south of Idlib city in northwest Syria, is 96.

The White Helmets civil defense organization said on Sunday, “After 32 hours of our rescue operation, and following the deaths of those who were critically injured, the total death toll of the strikes has risen to 96.”

The strikes targeted a courthouse and a Jabhat al-Nusra prison.

See Syria Daily, Jan 10: Another Mass Killing by Russian Airstrikes