BEIRUT: Mohammed Khous was walking from the field hospital heading for his son’s house nearby to rest between operations. He would never make it: a sniper’s bullet to the head felled the 70-year-old in the street. With that, the Syrian town of Zabadani — under heavy siege by government forces and allied Hezbollah militia — lost its last doctor.
His killing last month drew attention to the continuing severity of Syria’s blockades, despite international efforts to defuse them as part of ongoing peace negotiations in Geneva.
Dozens of people have died in the past year from starvation or illness related to malnutrition in besieged areas across Syria. Nearly half a million Syrians are trapped in sieges, according to the United Nations, and humanitarian aid convoys have only been able to reach 30 percent of them this year.
Most are besieged by government forces and another 200,000 by the Islamic State group, the Secretary General’s office told the U.N. Security Council on March 23.
“The daily misery in these areas shames us all,” Stephen O’Brien, the U.N.’s Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, told the Security Council.