Help stop the horror in Syria
Every hour 300 people flee their homes in fear.
Every month 6,000 more people are killed.
Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time.
Starvation used as a weapon of war
In March 2014 Amnesty International released a groundbreaking report that tells a horrific story of despair, starvation and death inflicted by the Syrian Government on its own people. It spotlights a place called Yarmouk, a Damascus suburb, where the Syrian army stopped the entry of all food, goods, and medical supplies eight months ago – with very limited exceptions. Since then people have had no choice but to make do with anything they could find.
One resident told Amnesty “I eat anything that I can get my hands on. I eat on average one meal every 30 hours.” Another Yarmouk resident shared, “The last time I ate vegetables was more than eight months ago.”
Families have been forced to survive on cactus and dandelion leaves while risking getting shot by snipers when collecting them. When plants weren't enough or people had allergic reactions to them, families have resorted to eating dogs and cats, risking food poisoning. Some people even drank dog milk.
Since July 2013, 128 people have starved to death in Yarmouk and at least 60 per cent of those remaining in this Damascus suburb are said to be suffering from malnutrition.
The siege of Yarmouk is only one of many throughout Syria. Across the country, 250,000 Syrians are living in areas besieged mostly by government forces. There is now an estimated 6.5 million internally displaced within Syria and a further 4.1 million refugees who will need assistance by the end of 2014.
Urgently needed health care
In addition to the 128 people that have starved to death in Yarmouk since July 2013, 51 more have died because of a lack of medical care.
Babies are dying because there is no milk, neither powder nor from their own mothers.
Hospitals and other medical facilities have been particularly badly hit and medics have been targeted.
“As soon as I arrived [at Palestine Hospital] a health worker told me that my husband hadn't made it. There were no doctors at the hospital because a few days earlier, Dr Aladdin Youssef was arrested and so others were scared to come to the hospital” Widow of Ghassan Shihabi.
Without evidence that such atrocities are happening, leaders can continue to disregard the scale and gravity of human rights abuses in Syria. Which is why Amnesty International will continue to research and document atrocities such as Yarmouk and as we continue to show the brutal reality of life in Syria, it will become increasingly difficult for the world to ignore it. Can you help us continue documenting and researching the experiences of people trying to survive?
We are calling on the UN Security Council to bring the situation before the International Criminal Court. When that time comes, the evidence that you are helping us to collect will be vital in bringing those responsible for war crimes to justice.
- UNESCWA press release, Syrian Experts Urge Geneva II Parties to Seize Historic Opportunity (21 January 2013)
- Yarmouk under siege - a horror story of war crimes, starvation and death (10 March, 2014)
- UN team must get full access to investigate chemical weapons claim (22 August 2013)
- Independent report confirms need for Syria to be referred to ICC (5 June 2013)
- Civilians bear the brunt as battle for Aleppo rages (23 August 2012)