[Report composed for Syrian Revolution General Commission]
[Report composed on 11/2/2013]
Civilians, most of whom are helpless children and women, and Free Syrian Army soldiers steadfast in Old Homs’s districts are suffering massively due to the siege and indiscriminate bombardment that has been targeting the besieged districts of Old Homs for more than 243 consecutive days. All basic needs for survival are unavailable. The injured and martyrs are the ones usually seen in the daily videos released, but the crisis is way more tragic than what it looks, especially for those being forced to live in a forcible strict diet that is slowly killing them within.
In a series of videos released by activists today, women, children, wounded civilians and Free Syrian Army soldiers are seen, agonizing under conditions intolerable for humans. Below, a description of each video was composed in order to portray what life has been like for the besieged civilians within suffering from famine and a bitter cold weather with the lack sanitary water, electricity, diesel, and a decent asylum.
In this video, two minors are interviewed as their mother and siblings are seen in a garden, picking up inedible grass in order to add to the few kilo grams of lentils and rice they own since the children suffer from malnutrition because of the dearth in vegetables, fruits, and meat.
The second child interviewed exhibits so much skillfulness in cutting grass since he and his family have been depending on grass for a very long time [since nearly 8 months up until now]. This merely 12 year old child has been deprived from schooling and education and works daily in order to sustain his and his family’s basic needs. When asked what are the fruits and vegetables he wishes to taste again, he says:”I really miss eating bananas…And I also miss eating tomatoes and cucumbers. It has been so long since we have tasted any of those.”
Despite that the families’ agonies due to lack of food is unbearable, the distress and pain the wounded civilians and Free Syrian army soldiers endure is what is utterly harrowing. The lack of medicines and specialized doctors force the nurses and the medics inside the only makeshift hospital serving the whole area to perform treatments and operations that are inconsistent with the injury/injuries sustained by the patient, all due to the lack of resources or alternatives.
In this video, a Free Syrian Army soldier was interviewed. He was wounded 5 months ago while fighting the regime’s forces in Bab Sba’a district; a shell fell near his legs and led to the injury of both of them. His right leg was severely wounded and he lost his knee joint due to the impact of the shell. Because doctors were unable to perform a knee prosthesis surgery, which is the needed surgery according to the patient, doctors were only able to offer support to his joint-less leg by inserting external fixators. The patient says:”I suffer from constant pain and I am living on pain killers only.” When asked about the food in front of him, he says:”You see, this is what I have every day: one loaf of bread, some olive oil, and thyme. It’s my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” He then adds:”I have been in bed, completely immobile, for 5 consecutive months now.”
The last of the videos is of another Free Syrian Army soldier wounded during clashes with the regime’s forces. His case is the severest of all. The regime’s forces in Al Qusour district shot him by a 12.5 mm sniper bullet in his leg [thigh area] that led to a severe injury and later on to inflammation; thus, he keeps a clothe underneath his thigh since the wound after the surgery [insertion of internal fixators] he underwent keeps excreting fuss. His medical condition is the worst due to his suffering of osteoporosis because of the lack of nutritious food vital to allow his wounds to heal and for full recovery. While he was once readjusting his sitting on bed, his leg broke and is now completely immobile as well, leading to his suffering of bed sores too. He says:”I’m malnourished and I have no food except some lentils and rice. There is no nutrient intake. Now I have osteoporosis.” He adds:”All of us [people trapped in Old Homs districts] depend on wells for drinking water, but it is not sanitary and I am very ill because of the complications it is causing to my digestive system.” He then says:”The Red Crescent visited us once only. They smiled to me and did not even bother to raise the quilt and check my injuries or at least offer to give us medicines. They simply smiled, just like how the whole world has been smiling to us without offering any aid.”
The conditions in this report are only a fraction of what is real on ground. And psychological disturbances amongst children and women are very common and widespread amongst the civilians trapped within, too. The siege continues, and the world continues to ignore their sufferance. The videos in this report and the agony of these humans is not for sympathy but for an immediate wake up call to the world so it forces the atrocious Assad regime to end the siege and allow free and immediate access to the wounded civilians/FSA soldiers to doctors and humanitarian organizations to offer the needed treatment for them all.