The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly as the Russian/Iranian-led pro-Assad coalition seems on the way to score its first decisive victory over the opposition in the almost five-year-old war
More than 470,000 people have already died in the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, and hundreds of thousands of others have been maimed for life as a result of severe injuries. The new shocking data about the death toll was published today by the Syrian Center for Policy Research (SCPR) in Beirut, Lebanon.
The report of SCPR says “life expectancy in Syria has dropped to just 55.4 years. Before the conflict, Syrians could expect to live to the age of 70,” Time Magazine reported. The data was confirmed by Mideast expert Tzvi Yechezkieli of Israeli TV Channel 10.
More than half of Syria’s population has been displaced as a result of the endless fighting. Before the war, Syria had a population of more than 22 million people. In September, the number of Syrians living in the country had shrunk to 16.6 million and continues to shrink every day.
More than 4.5 million Syrians have fled the country and most live in refugee camps in Turkey (2.5 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Jordan (700,000) and Iraq (220.000). Europe has, until now, absorbed an estimated 1 million refugees while roughly 820,000 Syrians had entered asylum procedures in European countries as of November.
Another 6.5 million Syrian citizens have been displaced within the country and often live under miserable circumstances without enough aid. The EU recently reported 13.5 million Syrian citizens are now in need of humanitarian assistance.
Evidence of the severe humanitarian crisis in Syria was also delivered by satellite images showing nighttime electric-light intensity (evidence of human activity) in the country has fallen more than 80 percent since the beginning of the war.
Israel has — despite being officially in a state of war with Syria — treated thousands of wounded Syrians. Most of them were injured rebels who, in some cases, were members of Islamist groups. Syrian citizens often travelled from afar to the border on the Golan Heights in order to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel.
At the end of last year, the humanitarian crisis in Syria worsened. Reports began to surface about mass starvation under the population of several Syrian cities and villages under siege by regime forces and their allies.
One of these villages was Madayah, a mountain village in southwestern Syria, where scores of residents died of malnutrition. Pictures were posted on social media that showed Syrian children eating meals of leaves and even grass.
The village was reportedly punished by the Assad regime for its support to rebels since 2011 when the civil war in Syria started.
Today, Vice News published a video showng images of a 12-year-old starved Syrian child hospitalized in a medical facility in Madayah that is now run by two dentists, an engineer and a vet.
Khaled Mohammad, the only doctor still working in the clinic, fled the village in January. The doctor decided to run for his life after Hezbollah hired a local hit man who was paid to murder him after he posted pictures of his starving patients on Facebook.
The clinic in Madayah treats 90 patients, most of them suffering from malnutrition and influenza.
A doctor of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) told a reporter for Vice News the current hospital staff “try their best, but they don’t have the experience needed to take proper care of patients. They have an operating table, but they don’t have anaesthesiologists, they don’t have the medicine to sedate the patients or the expertise to open them up.”
“We need advanced medical care for the majority of the patients inside Madaya, otherwise, they will die there,” the SAMS doctor said.
Madayah is still under siege. The Hezbollah fighters and regime soldiers who have encircled the town are using barbed wire and have planted some 6,000 landmines to ensure nobody leaves the village without permission from the regime forces.
The village was a popular vacation resort for wealthy Syrians and residents of the Gulf States before the war. It is one of 18 areas under siege by the Assad regime or Islamic State. An estimated half million people live in those areas, and 400,000 of them are at risk of starvation, Amnesty International wrote in a report published last month.
The latest news from Syria indicates the humanitarian crisis is rapidly deteriorating. The United Nations raised the alarm about the new humanitarian crisis in Aleppo Syria’s largest city.
The UN fears hundreds of thousands of residents of Aleppo could be trapped if the pro-Assad coalition succeeds to lay siege to the city. The Syrian health system, or what is left of it, is on the verge of collapse after the increase of airstrikes and after several hospitals were hit during these bombardments. The parties blame each other for the worsening humanitarian crisis. Turkey, for example, blames the Russians for the disaster and Russia and other parties say Turkey contributes to the deterioration by not opening the border for the tens of thousands refugees from Aleppo at the Bab al-Salama border crossing.