16 people starve to death in besieged Syrian town

Damascus, Jan 30 (IANS) At least 16 people died of starvation as a result of the siege of the rebel-held town of Madaya in Syria, a US-based humanitarian organisation said on Saturday.

“Residents of the besieged Syrian town of Madaya continue to die of starvation despite the provision of aid by convoys, while a Syrian government-led coalition blocks life-saving medical supplies from reaching the town,” Xinhua quoted the Doctors Without Borders organisation as saying.

Of the estimated 320 cases of malnutrition in the town of 20,000 people, 33 are severe, meaning those people are in danger of dying if they do not receive prompt and effective treatment, it added.

“It is totally unacceptable that people continue to die from starvation, and that critical medical cases remain in the town when they should have been evacuated weeks ago,” said Brice de le Vingne, the organisation’s director of operations.

The government laid siege on Madaya after the rebels in control of Idlib province suffocated the towns of Kafraya and Foah, both being Shia towns loyal to the government and under siege for over a year.

The warring parties in Syria have resorted to sieges to diminish one another’s strength. The tactic has successfully forced rebels out of several areas and driven the government into negotiations in other areas, but countless civilians fell victim to the dire consequences of the sieges.

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