Thursday 18 January 2018

1,000 people trapped in Syrian city 'surviving on rice and flour'

Ruth Sherlock Beirut

More than 1,000 people remain trapped inside a besieged district of the Syrian city of Homs, surviving on only the most basic supplies, aid agencies and activists have reported.

For more than six months, blockades including government tanks have cut off the Old City area, leaving everyone inside with little food or medical supplies.

"We cannot move at all from our places. We are under siege. The regime is not allowing anyone out," said a rebel fighter calling himself Adnan, speaking from inside the Old City.

"We have been living like this for 171 days. Families are living on rice and flour. We don't have food now, we are suffering; we have not seen milk or vegetable or meat in months. We would have a party if someone gave us a can of tuna!"

As parts of Homs emerged as the heart of the rebel resistance a year ago, the areas have been the scene of devastating artillery bombardments and air strikes.

The narrow streets and ancient buildings of the Old City have been largely destroyed by months of continual fighting. Last month, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent managed to get access to the area for the first time in months to bring a limited supply of aid.

The conflict has displaced about 250,000 people across the city, the UN's refugee agency said yesterday.

"This city (Homs) is really in a desperate situation," Melissa Fleming, a UNHCR spokesman, said in Geneva.

Meanwhile, videos emerged of the rebel Free Syrian Army being jeered by demonstrators. Civilians have made accusations that some rebels take part in intimidation, extortion and vandalism in "liberated" areas. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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