Warring parties in north western Syria are using food as a weapon of war, endangering the lives of more than 4.1 million people that have been crowded into displacement camps after the biggest single exodus in Syria’s nearly decade-long conflict began in Idlib late last year.
Syrian families living in camps near the Turkish border rely almost entirely on food from aid trucks to survive; but activists say this food is becoming a weapon in this war, with families again on the frontline, long after they fled.
An activist within the camp community described the dire situation in the camps. Speaking to the Voice of America he said that while the bombs may have stopped, they were entering a new time. “We, as activists, call it ‘cold bombings’,” he said, warning that “the warring parties are now fighting each other using food for civilians”.
Millions of people have been trapped along the border between Turkey and Syria waiting out a war that may leave them permanently displaced. They rely on food from aid trucks but fear that this life saving assistance may be dangerously reduced following a UN resolution earlier this month to close one of the two international borders for aid supplies.
It’s feared that with families relying on monthly “food baskets” just so they do not starve, the decision to close one of the roads may push residents to famine.
Turkey urged the UN to keep both borders open, but Russia and China vetoed the move.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar Al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.