Some 40,000 Syrians, more than half of them forcibly moved last year by Hezbollah and Assad regime forces to Madaya, Biqqin and Zabadani, lack access to qualified doctors, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.
Civilians are being besieged in these three towns by Hezbollah and Assad regime forces in order to put pressure on opposition forces who have besieged Fu'a and Kafraya in the countryside around the northern city of Idlib.
The Assad regime intends to use civilians it has forcibly held in these towns on the outskirts of Damascus as a bargaining chip to force the opposition to lift their siege on the towns they have blockaded near Idlib.
Syrians living under siege from both sides have been experiencing terrible living conditions for a year, or in some cases much more, due to a severe shortage of food and very poor medical healthcare.
Sources from Madaya told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the besieged Syrians living under Hezbollah and Assad have been living without professional medical care for four years.
The sources noted that the 40,000 people, mostly women and children, depend upon only four people for medical aid, one of whom is a veterinary and another a former dental student.
These unspecialised volunteers, assisted by a number of activists, provide healthcare to tens of besieged Syrians every day. They carry out surgical operations, including caesarean sections, appendectomies and amputations of limbs damaged by land mines planted by the Lebanese Shia organisation, Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, sources said that Madaya and Biqqin are suffering from epidemics, including meningitis outbreaks. As a result of Hezbollah blockading medicines from entering Madaya, people have stopped sending their children to schools, fearing infections.
The sources also said that food shortages caused many people starve to death and for others to present with diseases related to malnourishment. In addition, a large number of the besieged people have started to suffer from psychological problems.
The total number of people who have starved to death so far is 65, prompting concerns of a compounding humanitarian catastrophe looming as a stalemate exacts a hefty toll on the civilian population.