Nearly 650,000 Syrians living in besieged areas: Report
Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country's civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, says a new report that offers a graphic account of hundreds of deaths in areas the world has struggled for years to reach.
United Nations: Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country's civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, says a new report that offers a graphic account of hundreds of deaths in areas the world has struggled for years to reach.
The report says Syria's government is responsible for the overwhelming amount of siege tactics that have led to deaths by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care.
The document does not look at what it calls the short-term siege tactics used by the Islamic State group, which has beheaded and massacred its opponents in the vast area straddling the Syria-Iraq border currently under its control.
The "Slow Death" report, obtained in advance by The Associated Press, is by the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports medical workers in besieged areas. The organization presented its findings yesterday to UN officials and to a closed-door meeting sponsored by the United States, Britain, France and other states and organized by Qatar.
The UN estimates that 212,000 Syrians live in besieged areas beyond the reach of humanitarian aid.
But the new report, to be released next week, says the UN is too narrowly defining "besieged" and is inadvertently underplaying the crisis. It says more than 640,200 people are besieged.
It also echoes claims by an increasing number of aid groups that the international response to the overall conflict, particularly by the deeply divided UN Security Council, has failed.
"We're not talking about quote-unquote terrorists, we're talking about families who have nothing to do with armed groups," the president of the Syrian American Medical Society, Zaher Sahloul, told the AP.
The group describes itself as being a neutral medical organization, but Syria's government has accused it of supporting the opposition.
More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war, which began with protests against President Bashar Assad. The government has been repeatedly accused of using siege tactics against its own citizens.