memri
November 7, 2013 Special Dispatch No. 5511

Syrian Oppositionist Michel Kilo: Assad Perpetrating Mass Starvation; International Intervention Necessary

November 7, 2013
Syria | Special Dispatch No. 5511

Following multiple reports in October 2013 that the Assad regime is employing mass starvation in several rebel-controlled areas in Syria, especially in Ma'damia Al-Sham near Damascus, by besieging them, Syrian oppositionist Michel Kilo, a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, published an article warning of the tragedy in those areas and of the dangers threatening the lives of millions of civilians there. In the article, Kilo, who currently resides outside Syria, described the famine in the besieged suburbs of Damascus and in the city of Homs, and claimed that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad "is currently using a weapon of mass destruction of the most despicable sort – starvation." Kilo also criticized the U.S., which he claims gave Assad a "green light" to continue the Syrian massacre, and called on the U.N. and international community to end their apathy to the ongoing disaster and come to the aid of Syrian civilians.

The following are excerpts from the article, published on October 16 in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat:


Michel Kilo (image: alarabiya.net)

Assad Is Starving Residents Of Besieged Areas To Death

"Bashar Al-Assad's army has been besieging the residents of eastern and western Al-Ghouta and Al-Homs for 18 months. Having failed to subdue the residents of these areas by force, he decided to annihilate them by means of siege and starvation. He dispatched his mercenaries to lay a heavy siege [on them], so that they die of starvation and from the ceaseless artillery barrage, which does not let up, day or night.

"News from the besieged areas indicates that the price of a kilo of sugar has reached 3,000 Syrian pounds [about $21] – if it is available at the markets at all – while before the siege [it cost] 169 pounds. A kilo of rice, which used to cost 50 pounds, [now] costs 2,200 pounds [about $15.5], if you can find any. Bread is completely unavailable to the men and women [there,] for not a single loaf of bread can be found. A friend told me that last month he was on his way home with four loaves of bread, but he did not manage to bring even one of them home to his children, because on his way he gave them to children with distended stomachs whose mothers begged him to give them a slice. A six-day-old infant died of starvation without having suckled even once, because her mother, who died four days later, hadn't eaten for ten days before giving birth.

"After Assad's army failed to regain western and eastern Al-Ghouta by force, it initially tried to regain several villages and towns in these areas by deception. It asked the local leaders to let it fly [Assad's] flag from some mosque minarets in return for a removal of the siege. [However,] when the [local] fighters refused this transparently deceptive offer, and let [the army] know that the believers would not be bitten a thousand times from the same hole by the snake of tyranny, it began wide-scale heavy bombardments, mainly against civilians, and tightened the siege, closing all the exists to the outside world. Then [Assad] encouraged his mercenaries to buy the meager food [still available] in the markets in order to leave no food for the residents and starve them. Thus, the price of rice rose from 260 pounds per kilo to 2,200 pounds, before it vanished from the markets entirely. Sugar also disappeared after being scarce and then rare. [Eventually] there was nothing to eat or drink and people began dying of starvation on a daily basis. The death toll rises daily and hourly, so much so that the shadow of death hovers over nearly two million people living in besieged areas, who are being constantly bombarded by artillery [as well]."

U.S. Policy Gave Assad A Green Light To Continue Killing His People

"[The besieged areas] are today facing a human tragedy that could claim the lives of thousands of their sons and daughters. This, while the world is pleased with its feeble [measures] regarding Syria, and praises its own success in disarming the criminal [Assad] of his chemical [weapons] for the benefit of Israel. [Assad] has not used these weapons against anyone except his own people, according to an equation one side of which is [preserving] the security and integrity [of Israel]... and the other side of which is destroying the Syrians by every means. This equation enables Assad to use all and every means, including conventional weapons, against peaceful people and their residential areas, while avoiding the wrath of the U.S., which has affirmed what Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu'allem has always said: that it would do nothing against the regime. In fact, the U.S. position on the chemical [weapons] served as a green light for [Assad], [precisely] when he was losing hope of remaining [in power] and was [close to] fleeing. As a matter of fact, most of Syria's military and civilians leaders had already done this, and he himself was close to doing so as well."

The International Community MustTake Steps Against Assad

"The regime is currently using a weapon of mass destruction of the most despicable sort – namely starvation – amid global silence and while the U.N. bodies turn a blind eye and content themselves with helpless moral preaching and expressions of outrage over the events without taking any actual steps against the criminal. [These bodies] could have [at least] pretended that they are thinking of bringing [Assad] to trial, after his actions exposed the truth of his criminal treatment of the Syrian people... [Assad's actions] have exposed the violence that has always accompanied his treatment of the Syrian people, as well as his expressions of hostility [towards them], which exceed his expressions of hostility towards foreign imperialism in their brutality. It has also been proven that Assad is not part of the Syrian people, but kills them one by one and all together for failing to support him. Furthermore, it has been proved that Assad is not the president of [the Syrian people], because today he draws his legitimacy from the death [of the people], not from managing its affairs and serving it. Since [the outset] of the rebellion, [Assad] has based his regime on all-out violence aimed at destroying those whom he once called his 'brethren' – the civilians. With this violence he has managed to gain the unanimous [support] and loyalty of his gangs.

"Starvation will not manage to break the strength of a people that is marching towards freedom through an ocean of its own blood. This is what the besieged say after 18 months of starvation and martyrdom by hunger and fire. They demand that we remove the death grip from the necks of their children and elderly, and save those who are still alive. [This,] so that our passivity will not grant aid to Assad's plan – inadvertently, of course – and so we do not find ourselves facing human skeletons fighting for our freedom while we are remiss and avoid helping them to the best of our ability... [despite the fact] that we can help a lot!"

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.