UPDATE ON THE SITUATION IN MADAYA
What is Madaya
Madaya is a small mountainous town in Syria. It is located about 40 kilometers northwest of Damascus and is home to Barada Lake. Before war, most of the people in Madaya worked in smuggling goods from neighboring countries to Syria. People from Damascus used to go there to do some shopping as they can find there all what they need from food, clothes, house equipment…
How Madaya entered the war?
Madaya entered the war game when the battle in Zabadani started and when reconciliation never succeeded between parties, a lot of “Ahrar Al-Sham Movement” militants moved gradually with their families from Zabadani to Madaya, trying to keep their families away from the battles. This armed group control now 60% of Madaya. In October, negotiation between all parties led to the agreement of allowing injured rebels to come out of Zabadani heading to Turkey for treatment, versus the freedom of some women and children from Foaa and Kefraya (in Idlib suburb), food and medical were supposed to be distributed in all these besieged towns. Although there were problems during negotiations, aid trucks entered these towns in October 18, 2015. The assistance was supposed to be enough for about three months, but what happened is that Ahrar Alsham militants distributed a part of the aid on people in Madaya, and kept the rest in their warehouses and started selling food to families in very high prices. For example
here in Damascus 1Kg of rice worth SP 150, in Madaya 1Kg of rice reached SP 100,000. Woman started exchanging their jewelries and belongings in very low prices with food. People started eating boiled leaves with some spices to be able to survive.
Humanitarian Aid reached Madaya
Last week, humanitarian assistance for 60,000 people safely reached Madaya Foah and Kafraya including food, medicines and blankets. Additional Convoys are expected to be completed by today.
Madaya and media manipulation
Although the humanitarian situation in Madaya is very bad, but it is not tragic like the media has shown.
Some friends from the Red Cross who went to Madaya in the last convey informed us informally that people were very hungry, very happy to receive the aid, but they haven’t seen people living in famine like the media have been showing recently.
Dr. Mousa, a nutrition working in Damascus, said when we asked him about the photos of hungry people in Madaya, which are circulating in Social Media these days: It is impossible for the ribcage to be shown this way in three months only. I am sure that these photos are manipulated.
We, ourselves, did some Google search on some photos for starving people in Madaya, and we discovered that a lot of them have been taken from other areas, inside and outside Syria. Giving you some examples:
This photo is for a man who passed away in Ghouta (Damascus Suburb) on Jan 15, 2015 because of famine and malnutrition.