Talk:Yarmouk Camp

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See also: Starving Children in Moadamiyeh

Early Violence


Summer 2012

Footage from Damascus showing the direct aftermath of yesterday's (2/8/2012) mortar shelling of the Yarmouk camp. 15 people, 2 of them children, were killed by the assault. (video
15 unidentified corpses were found in the city of Damascus, they were killed recently. 6 of them, including a child, were shot on the al-Mutahaleq al-Janubi (southern ring road) in the Jobar area. The 9 other corpses were found in the neighbourhoods of al-Mukhayam al-Filastini (Palestinian camp), Mukhayam al-Yarmouk and al-Tadamon.

Rebels Take Over

Pre-December Activity


December Rebel Conquest

Side-note - this is surreal, having studied the Lockerbie bombing (do check out Morag G. Kerr's new book!). Iranians ordered that, Jibril's PFLP-GC, based in Syria (but with Syrian role I know of beyond that), arranged the bombing, likely through Jibril's nephew, "Abu Elias." He now lives in Virginia, it seems, hushed-up until recently as "Basel Bushnaq," Libya was blamed for Lockerbie and sanctioned as a terrorist state, they were later regime-changed with al-Qaeda in the Maghreb's help, uncontrollable terrorists from there are now attacking Syria, in concert with Sunni extremists fighting the PFLP-GC in Syria to cheers in Israel, in concert with the campaign against Iran and its allies, which previously gave us such hits as the July 1988 downing of Iran Air 655, which led directly to Lockerbie. Only parts of that are relevant here, but oh well. I can go off at times. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:07, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Control of Yarmouk seems to have first been in rebel hands at that point, and has gone back-and-forth somewhat after this, but with rebels apparently in charge at the moment. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:07, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Life in "Liberated" Yarmouk

One resident, speaking to McClatchy reporter Jonathan S. Landay in mid-January, 2014, "had little good to say about the armed groups operating inside the camp."

“The problem is that there are two kinds of opposition inside. There are the people who steal and who commit crimes and the others are the religious extremists,” he said.“The civilians should be allowed out of this fight,” he said as the call ended. “We need the armed people to leave Yarmouk."

The same man also said, as the report says, "people who challenge the rebels by demanding that they leave risk being detained or worse." And it was the rebels first entering the dragged people into the fight they now wanted out of. The expressed ideal was to reverse that and have rebels leave, but that kept not happening, and only some kind of divorce could make life bearable again. Vast numbers, including "Hamed, who referred to the Islamists as “the germs” had already managed to leave. “We couldn’t take life there anymore. The armed people would go into people’s homes, break the walls and steal everything,” he told Landay. [1] But at some point leaving became harder and only those less capable remained, trapped inside, with the blame disputed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:26, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Violent deaths that are recorded at the VDC are fairly scant in later 2013. One incident of possible interest from Dec. 23: Shadi Ibrahem al-Jabali, Civilian Adult - Male, Damascus, Yarmuk Camp, killed 2013-12-23 by Detention - Torture. Fadi Dawoud Jbali, Civilian, Adult - Male, Damascus, Yarmuk Camp, 2013-12-22, Detention - Torture. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:17, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

PFLP-GC "Shabiha"

The VDC lists 17 "Shabiha" killed Aug. 24, 2013 in the Yarmouk camp. All are listed as members of the PFLP-GC. This supports that "Shabiha" is the demonizing term for popular committees (Lijan Shabiya) and all local defenders, not just an Alawite death cult militia of the Assad family. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:33, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Ah, 2013 ... this is a week after rebels were fighting local committees in Christian Marmarita, Homs province. There the fight was with "Lijan Shabieh," local committees, VDC says. Others specify "the filth shabeeha" of Marmarita killed those Christian civilians by putting them in the way of rebel rockets. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:50, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Rebels Leave Yarmouk?

Atter a long and awkward siege with its sub-issues (see below), plus other pressures and mediation by many parties, it was reported in later February 2014 that rebel fighters were finally pulling out of, or had perhaps all left, Yarmouk. These cite Palestinian officials, and may or may not reflect the reality on the ground. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:57, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

  • Al-Bawaba on prior announcement that this would happen.

Siege and Starvation in Yarmouk

A protest outside the Yarmouk camp, January 7, 2013

See: here for one of the basic questions we might ask here, as they emerged when children were starving to death in Moadamiya. Why are certain people, especially when they're children, starving clear to death while others - notably the rebel fighters and activists and field clinic "doctors" all around them - aren't? With full bellies, they blame the regime for making them not be able to share the food they claerly have access to with the people they also have access to, at least once dead if not before that. Clearly food is getting in/is available, it's just not being shared. In a rebel-held area (like all those allegedly besieged so babies are starving), that will be a problem to take up with the rebel administrators, especially those holding hostages, from whom it's easier to withhold food. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 13 January 2014 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:38, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

The death toll of alleged starvation victims in Yarmouk is here catalogued by following the activist Violations Documentation Center database (see below). As of late January, that shows 63 deaths of Yarmouk residents by "other," which is mainly or all by starvation. It seems this tally is slightly lower than the numbers being reported elsewhere, but is fairly close. Those have died mainly from October 2013 forward, especially from late December to the present. Of the 63, 38 are adult males, 15 adult females, 4 boys, and 6 girls. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:38, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

The 42 years old Sahar Tawfiq Omaik died of #hunger today in #Yarmouk #Palestinian #Refugee #Camp in #Syria.
Aref Abdullah the five months old baby from Al-Yarmouk camp in Damascus martyred due to starvation. Before his martyrdom he was beaten with his family while trying to escape through Yilda checkpoint. video
After his starvation, he doesn't appear the slightest bit emaciated or even malnourished. Nor really beaten either. I'd guess suffocation. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
(Horrible top image of two living but very emaciated babies. One appears to be...)
The Palestinian child "Alaa Al-Masri "is facing death in Al-Yarmouk camp video - alive but not needed anymore - death report expected today - no one could get her any food, this whole damn time...) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Oh yeah, this is days old. I did call it. Same-day in fact. Alae al-Masri died Jan. 10. Another baby girl - Mariam Mohammad (age 50 days, not the second starving girl shown in the photo) - and no one else allegedly starved in Yarmouk the same day.

Below that video, another:

An elderly died of starvation in Yarmouk refugee cam [sic] video - wasted away, terrible. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Photo: Syrian Revolution: :Her name is Ala’a Al-Masri from #Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp. Humanity in 2014! #Syria A rebel guy holds a deceased baby Ala'a. He's not chubby, but he's been eating fine. She clearly did not. The contrast is right there, and the questions not asked widely enough. Why some and not others? And how is the regime enforcing that divide in a rebel-held camp with rebel-held babies? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Re-tweeted with mods by me. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:56, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

How Bad is it?

An AFP report passed on the accounts of two women allowed to leave the camp with children. One said “It’s disastrous. People are literally dying of hunger.” This is what we know, and the other woman's case helps illustrate again the strange gulf between those few who are dying, and the masses like these who aren't. "Umm Alaa" was also allowed to leave with five children, one a sick son. As one of the roughly 450 special cases allowed to leave this early, he'll be one of the worst off. The report describes him as "suffering from acute malnutrition" and as having "developed muscular dystrophy." [2] Usually that means more than just wasting away of muscle mass, but the actual inherited disease that has kicked in, contributing. Her other four children, and most people, are apparently doing better than that. This is a description of part of the baseline.

Rebels keep showing us people they can find who are somehow living well below that. The explanation is lacking.

Put more visually, here are just a few images to show the normal face of hunger. These people look unhappy, undernourished, and some visibly losing weight, in spots. Otherwise, the striking thing is how normal they look, especially those who seem to operate closer to the firepower by which they run the place. They have some access to food, if not the best, and are apparently part of some food-sharing human community the camera skeletons have been excluded from.

Yarmouk Starvation Pallbearers.png

Right: Pallbearers at the January (11 or 13?) funeral of Jamil Saleh Al Qarabi, who starved to death. No one carried any food to him. These guys, however, seem more than strong enough to carry his skeletal remains with ease. It's all for ... well, for the cameras, against Assad.

Yarmouk Starvation clapping.png

Left: From around this same time, quite a few men in Yarmouk camp who aren't starving sing Islamist or anti-Assad songs and clap to liven the grim reality their rebellion unleashed here. (is dude on the left here the same as dude on the right above? He gets around, at funerals and a few different kitchens, it seems) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:00, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Yarmouk Starvation Women 1.png

Right: Women on the sidelines of a funeral procession of Martyr Akram Slaiman Al-Alal, Yarmouk camp, Damascus, January 11, 2014.

Yarmouk Aid Najjar.png

Left: Men lining up for UNRWA food aid, January 20. Women queue in the background. The men seem to be undernourished but nowhere near death, obviously. Some just seem lethargic, not operating at full capability. Others look too lean - their mothers would tell them to eat more.

So, you can see whatever is at work on the camp in general, imposed from within or without but dealt with in a Human community, does not explain the shocking images the (Gulf-funded?) Palestinian Charity Association uses for its fundraising videos like this, by ... displaying their previous failures to help? Halfway in to that video you can see a living man who is starving badly. He's not tied up in a basement or anything; rebels have him shirtless in an alleyway, where they bumped into him, talking and seeming okay, considering. Did they get him to food next? Maybe not - a dead body, maybe his, is shown right afterwards (fully wrapped). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:23, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

As for what they are reportedly eating there: Interesting discussion on Twitter between Sam Dagher, Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and Sharmine Narwani

Interesting. I don't know if he intended for the green on her chin to mean grass, but if so, duh. Dagher does some good reporting. Anyway, I'm sure people are eating grass and random leaves, probably not as their only food but maybe as their only greens. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:04, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

An AFP report of Feb. 4 cites a woman named Khulud Shehab, allowed to leave with two children, who says "We were boiling herbs and bits of cactus we found in the fields near our house." the report adds that this was "to eat and survive," but people have gone some time without greens. [2] They can still boil, and most people will have some access to rice and other grains, pasta, beans or legumes, bread, tea, maybe milk and odds and ends at times. But those are boring to mention. Fresh produce, in a war zone, in January, will be tough to swing, and tough swinging apparently makes the best news.

Meat will be the same. An AFP report of January 29 cited a resident saying that "many here have slaughtered and eaten cats and dogs, and even a donkey. One man who killed a dog couldn’t find any meat to eat on its body, because even the dogs are starving ... What was unimaginable a few months ago is normal now.” [3] This certainly will happen at some point they may well be at. This wouldn't be their only food, but presumably their only meat in some time. Some people survive forever without meat, but there's probably even a leaner market for tofu or Boca burgers in Yarmouk these days. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

The UN's Chris Gunness specified this odd list of improvised staples: “Residents including infants and children have been subsisting for long periods on diets of stale vegetables, herbs, powdered tomato paste, animal feed and cooking spices dissolved in water." [4] --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:12, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

It's rare we get to see human interaction with the human skeletons prior to their deaths. One case was semi-famously captured on video, and described in this article: "Palestinian in Syrian refugee camp 'can't remember' last time he ate"

"I can't remember," the man said when asked by the camera-holder when was the last time he had eaten. ... (the video) went viral on social media ...

There is also a semi-famous image worth consideration, of a man in a similar state, sitting slumped on the curb. Links forthcoming...

Consider the above balance of images alongside this words-only skype call with a woman presumably supplied by activists to an AP reporter:

"There are no more people in Yarmouk, only skeletons with yellow skin," said Umm Hassan, a 27-year-old resident and mother of two toddlers. "Children are crying from hunger. The hospital has no medicine. People are just dying." Her three-year-old daughter and two-year-old son were rapidly losing weight from lack of food, she added. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Who's Starving the Palestinians?

Yarmouk Starvation Why.png

Rebels have been saying there's no food in Yarmouk, and Assad is to blame. I made this graphic and put it up on Twitter Jan. 15. Visually, it's proof that there's food and only some people are getting none, while others seem to have enough. Syricide, Petri, a few others re-tweeted it over the following days. Connection or not, on Jan. 18 (2:14 pm Syria time) a rebel guy named Razan Alakraa reveals on Facebook The awful truth of Yarmouk camp starving in Syria is that it is not starving, only part of it is. (see also this re-post with comments). So the no food version the rebels were first peddling wasn't true? Shock and awe there. So then ... the new version is supposed to be true, but I guess the devil will be in the details, as usual. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:26, 21 January 2014 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:27, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

The content of that belated acknowledgment, with my commentary:

The awful truth of Yarmouk camp starving in Syria is that it is not starving, only part of it is. Unfortunately inside the camp is a population of pro Assad Palestinians (Those affiliated to Jibril and some who are Under threat. When there were clashes in the camp a while back, many of Jibrils members defected as not to support the regime..he fled but has an upper hand now in the area.
The bolded is arguably paradoxical. But it opens the possibility that the guy with "the upper hand in the area" might be the one behind the starvation there.
While on the other side are Palestinians who saw Assad crimes and stood against Jibril and the regime. What has happened is that yes there is food in the camp but orders have been given to increase the price for certain areas and ban it in other areas while blocking the roads thus leading people to starve. The prices are considered expensive for working people in the UK. Consider that price in a war zone & in a camp that always was poor anyway and now under siege ?
On the other side, then, are the good guys who respond properly to the rebel attribution of crimes. And implicitly it's them who were punished with the siege.
You see photos of people dying in the road of hunger and by them men and women walking by looking healthy and ignoring.
I haven't seen that yet - just non-starving people out on the street and, separately, rebels displaying corpses of people they failed to feed. I'm thinking they were tied up in some basement before that, not out on the street being ignored.
That's because inside Yarmouk is a mini war in itself. Not just by the Assad regime but by the people of Jibril. There is food in the camp. It's not an issue of no food. The issue is helping those starving get the food either by reaching their closed areas within the camp or buying food from the threatened sellers and distributing to the poor.
The problem is the war, he says, and I agree. That's being fought not just by the government, he clarifies, but also by its allies in the PFLP-GC. Hm ... when did war only get waged by one side? Clearly when the author decided to avoid blaming rebels for anything, because he knows what a slippery slope that is. And also, this helps demonize those inside the camp apparently playing along with the siege. Jibril supporters, likely the same ones allegedly ignoring the starving rebel people on the curb. Subtle implication: scum must be dealt with.
The siege of Yarmouk camp differs to other sieges where the regime besieges it from the outside and we have to find ways to get in and help the people. Yarmouk camp has food inside, but dirty politics has led to dozens dead of starvation and videos being released of people eating leaves and twigs and rotten remains..a camp where politics has led to some watching others die of starvation as they enjoy an evening meal at home.
Dirty politics indeed! And don't forget the other videos, of the staved hostages about whom we can know nothing reliably.
The saying of the prophet Muhamad on his tongue and God tells us.....
Put short, share food. Implication: the "Islamic" party here (the good guys) know to share, while the servants of Satan perhaps don't, and might be behind the starving. He doesn't come out and say it, but the message throughout is "okay, yeah there is some food, but we can't share it right because of the regime and Jibril." They say the "regime" and "Jibril" can prevent food getting to living bodies in "closed areas" where they have "the upper hand." But we can see how they never stop rebels from getting the dead bodies delivered to their clinics and to Youtube. We are not losing sight of this, and of the power of seen vs. said. And so Mr. Alakraa's shell game fails. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:27, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Fascinating stuff. --CE (talk) 11:34, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, CE. I always go on such ranting monologues, especially when people are starving kids. Any little peep from someone else helps. :) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:42, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
Even in this climate of desperation, versions as to what exactly is going on differ massively. So much so that Reuters claims that the UNRWA has knowledged that one of its latest convoys was fired upon by government forces determined to starve the Palestinian refugees. The same tune is being sung by opposition activists, claiming that the government is using hunger as a weapon.
Yarmouk families, meanwhile, continue to perish – and seem to be rather blaming the rebel forces. “There is no food, nothing to eat or drink, the militants are inside,” one resident told RT. “I swear by the soul of the Prophet we want this to stop. What is our guilt? We want to go out!” “We cannot leave – the militants prevent us,” another resident said.

Most interesting:

Anwar Raja, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, sees the rebels’ tactics as an obvious move to insinuate the government’s complicity in the suffering of its own people.
“The Nusra Front and the Takfiri groups are trading on the hunger of the people. They want to say to the world: ‘See: the people are hungry.’ It’s like the residents are kidnapped inside their own camp, inside their own home, and the militants are negotiating over them, negotiating their souls,” Raja said.
“They claim that the Syrian state is besieging Palestinians in the camp. They want to invert the image and the truth, saying that the Syrian government is part of the killing force, as they don’t do anything to protect the people. They want people to hate the regime.”
According to Raja, an evacuation plan has been worked out with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to evacuate “hundreds” of Yarmouk residents. The evacuees were transported to several hospitals, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday, but the Red Crescent could not be reached to confirm the details of the operation.

All sources indicate some 450 people were evacuated for health reasons, or at least the process was started. Mr. Raja has a good track record. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:02, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

"Many (starving deaths) were old people who I was responsible for but I couldn't do anything to help," says Um Mahmoud, a Palestinian care worker living in Yarmouk camp. "They were dehydrated and had no food, medicine or medical attention."
"Babies also died because there was no milk. Their mothers couldn't breastfeed them because they were sick and undernourished."

Without more details, it's hard to say just how shady this is or isn't. Responsibility for "many" of those who died from no care were in fact assigned care? Only at the last minute? Hmmm... --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:36, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Agreement Reached: December 2013

An AFP report I happened to catch this issue while readin contains these two passages:

For seven months, the Syrian army has imposed a punishing siege on the camp to try to force out rebels holed up inside.
After months of negotiations a deal was reached in late December between a committee of local rebels and 14 Palestinian factions inside Yarmouk to allow long-denied food into the camp.[2]

It's not explained how the government/army, the ones doing the starving, was coerced into complying with that agreement. "Factions" implicitly suggests pro-gov, anti-gov, and mainly neutral Palestinian groups, but as soon as they and whichever rebels represented their side agreed to a basic humanitarian move, the army has been notably helpful ever since.

So, what exactly was agreed, who had been holding up what, and why? Both sides blame each other for the plight of the Palestinians stuck in the camp. The government has clearly said it wants the civilians out so it can more easily fight the "terrorists." Getting food in is less desirable than getting people out, an attitude consistent with a military food embargo, and with the fact that something like 75% of the people once there have already fled or been evacuated. But the rebels insist on keeping as many human shields around them as possible, the government says. And for their part, I think rebels might have argued that Assad wants to keep the Palestinain civilians there because he hates them, and wants to kill them finally, along with the freedom fighters. The rebels want to get the innocents away and be crushed alone, but the regime simply won't let them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:05, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

On to the implementation of the aid agreement and/or evacuations ...

Aid Convoy Fired On

There seem to be at least two ore even several instances where aid was kept back from the camp by murky sniper fire and such, for which, as usual, both sides blame each other. The most famous incident(s) happened on February 13 and/or Feb. 14. Whether this is even one incident or two is one of the things that needs sorted out. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:57, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Monday, January 13 - an attempted delivery of food and medical aid:

A Fatah official said that the siege on Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp would be lifted on Monday. Central Committee Member Mohammad Shtayyeh said Sunday that Palestinian sources in Yarmouk told him the siege would be lifted on Monday, without providing further details.
A delegation representing the PLO shipped six truckloads of food and medicine into the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus on Monday, an official said. Awni Abu Ghosh, a member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said in a statement that the shipment marked a "breakthrough" in the Yarmouk camp crisis.
The statement added that six trucks loaded with foods and medicines were headed to the Yarmouk camp under the auspices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The trucks are expected to enter the camp on Monday afternoon to help ease the humanitarian crisis inside the camp.
If fair distribution could be assured with the current management (and that's apparently not the case) this shipment might well have helped. However:
On Monday, the militants opened fire on a convoy of UN vehicles carrying tons of food supplies to civilians besieged inside the camp.
In a related incident earlier this month, militants prevented elderly and sick civilians seeking medical treatment from leaving the refugee camp.
On January 8, hundreds of people marched at the entrance of the camp in Damascus to reach out to their sick and the elderly relatives. The demonstrators called for the evacuation of over 300 sick people trapped inside Yarmouk.
“My children and family are all inside the camp. There is no food or clean water. Why are those militants attacking us? We want them out of our camp. Let them return to where they came from… We want them to stop using our children as human shields,” said one of the demonstrators.
Many refugees have died in the camp due to food and medicine shortages.
"All efforts to end the siege on Yarmouk camp have failed," the director of the Palestinian Democratic Union told Ma'an. There was "an incident that occurred at the entrance of the camp, preventing the entry of supplies," Khalid Abu al-Haija said, without elaborating. A PLO Executive Committee member said that the presence of militants in Yarmouk camp impeded the entry of supplies, due to a heavy exchange of fire.
Ahmad Majdalani said that Palestinian officials would continue their efforts to "save refugees in Yarmouk camp." "We are in intensive contact with Syrian officials and militants in Palestinian camps in Syria in order to reach a solution and create a safe passage for the entry of relief supplies to Yarmouk," Majdalani said.
Message sent, not as subtly as it should be: "that's not what we meant by lifting the siege. Until trucks with fresh fighters and heavier weaponry are allowed, people will die of starvation daily, until we run out of people." Also proven - those rebels themselves are well fed enough they were willing to chase food aid away just to make some kind of point by worsening the crisis. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Also, obviously, the "opposition activists" will blame sleeper cells of "Shabiha" for the incident, because the regime is evil (proof below when someone goes to find it or runs across it, I'm in no rush). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:23, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

Syria's repeated obstruction of aid convoys to the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus might be considered a war crime, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said Friday. ... Pillay also protested that aid convoys had come under fire, saying that intentional attacks against humanitarian personnel and supplied were also a war crime.
So the "criminal" government let aid through (finally? again?), but rebels (supposedly starving) actively shot at it and sent it away. Both are criminal and make the people starve, but one is an identifiable party charges can be brought against, the other is some unclear part of a nebulous shit-squid from hell the other party has the only workable solution for. She thinks charges should be brought wherever names (Assad) can be pinned down. Not surprising. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:19, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Above, I was citing pro-Syria sources, and not the other side's PoVs where Assad was to blame for getting this convoy turned back. No one really says their people shot at it, but some say the government made them drive too close to the rebel snipers. The UN wants the Syrian government to control entrances? Reuters via Jerusalem Post reported Jan. 15

Shooting forced the United Nations to abort a delivery of food and polio vaccines to a besieged area of Damascus after the Syrian government insisted it use a dangerous route, a UN spokesman said.
...The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Damascus had authorized a six-truck convoy to deliver food for 6,000 people, 10,000 doses of polio vaccine and medical supplies to the Yarmouk Palestinian district where 15 people are known to have died of malnutrition and 18,000 are trapped by fighting. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement Syrian authorities had "required" that it use the southern entrance to Yarmouk. That meant it had to drive 20 km (12 miles) "through an area of intense and frequent armed conflict, in which numerous armed opposition groups, including some of the most extreme jihadist groups, have a strong and active presence".
When the convoy passed the southern checkpoint, its Syrian government escort sent a bulldozer to clear the road of debris and it was fired on by unknown assailants. Machinegun fire erupted and a mortar exploded close to the convoy, Gunness said, and UNRWA's Syrian security detail told the convoy to withdraw. No one was wounded, he said.

The speculation, apparently, is that Assad knew the Jihadists would block the aid, and wanted it blocked, so picked a route that would let them block it for him. Bastard! Perhaps referring to the same incident, AP reported later "Authorities recently allowed a few hundred food parcels into Yarmouk in what appeared to be a goodwill gesture ahead the peace talks, but residents said only a tiny amount of aid entered because government officials ordered aid workers to distribute the parcels in an area under sniper fire. Yet more evidence Assad and ISIS are working together! (/sarcasm) --Caustic Logic (talk) 21:59, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Two further accounts for this bloated section: Christopher Gunness, UNRWA spokesman, wrote a guest column for the Guardian, Feb. 8, in which he describes the incident:

On 14 January, an UNRWA relief convoy of six trucks with food for 6,000 people, along with 10,000 doses of polio vaccine and other medical supplies, left our main warehouse in Damascus. We were required to use the southern entrance to Yarmouk. This meant the convoy had to drive 20km through an area of intense conflict, in which numerous armed opposition groups, including some of the most extreme jihadist organisations, have a strong and active presence.

Citing security concerns, the Syrian authorities did not permit UNRWA to use the northern entrance to Yarmouk, which is under government control, and which is generally regarded as more likely to be accessible with relatively less risk.

As the convoy approached Yarmouk from the south, it was joined by a government security escort, which enabled the vehicles to reach the last government-controlled checkpoint. The convoy was cleared to go beyond and the Syrian authorities provided a bulldozer to clear the road of debris, earth mounds and other obstructions. However, as this was happening, the bulldozer was struck by gunfire and forced to withdraw, though with no casualties. Thereafter, bursts of gunfire, including heavy machine-gun fire, erupted close to the UNRWA vehicles. One mortar exploded close to the convoy. Our team withdrew, mercifully without casualties.
We were undaunted. Our humanitarian mission continues. Following successful access to Yarmouk on 18 January, we have now delivered more than 6,000 basic food parcels and 10,000 polio vaccines. [5]

An earlier report for McClatchy news service, January 18, heard this:

The regime has blamed the rebels for sabotaging the deliveries. But the expert(an unnamed "expoert" on the subject), who spoke with McClatchy only under the condition that neither he nor his organization be identified because of possible retribution, said unruly regime militias known as shabiha were responsible for most of the incidents in which Syrian Arab Red Crescent, U.N. and International Red Cross convoys have been fired on.
Many regime militiamen, who are locally recruited from Assad’s Alawite sect – an offshoot of Shiite Islam – or from other sympathetic groups, are bent on avenging the killings of family and friends at the rebels’ hands, he explained. Others are making money smuggling food to collaborators inside the encirclements, he continued.As a result, he said, some shabiha chieftains have defied regime orders to allow aid through siege lines.“When you are fighting wolves, you release your dogs. Now, they (the regime) need to put on the leash,” said the expert. [6]

(A Little) Aid Arrives

... with complications, on January 18. CBC(Canada) reports

In Damascus, Anwar Raja, a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said the first batch of supplies entered the Yarmouk camp on Saturday. Raja said hundreds of boxes of food stuff entered the camp. He said much of the material was carried by members of PFLP-GC members and committees in the camp. ... "The process is moving slowly since they are being carried on the shoulder to avoid sniper fire," Raja told The Associated Press in Damascus by telephone.

These are of course the dreaded Yarmouk Shabiha the rebels chased out months ago - the article notes they've been fighting the rebels. Apparently they managed not to get shot, partly by climbing over rubble in a side-street that's been utterly devastated, and apparently unfit even for rebels to deal with (see video). Or because rebels decided not to take the pot shots they could have. We'll never know.

Raja said the aim is to send 7,000 boxes for 7,000 families into the camp's rebel-held areas. He added that more food supplies will be sent into the camp in the coming days and later medical supplies will be sent as well. He said committees in the camp will hand over the food boxes to families by name "so that (opposition) gunmen don't take them."

Of course he would say that. Rebels would accuse the Shabiha of climbing back in and stealing it all back. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:19, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Yarmouk Starvation Aid Rubble.png

Video of the delivery, Syrian radio and TV (English subtitles) via Arabi Souri: First Batch of Humanitarian Aid Arrives to Besieged Residents of Yarmouk Camp

A Palestinian official, I presume, is explaining how the people have to go "an agreed point" somewhat outside the camp "and the aid will be handed to him in his hands." Next they speak to Mr. Raja, who swears "to those who traded with our peoples' suffering and prevented (aid) we tell them now: The young men of the camp and the young men of the committees, are carrying this aid on their shoulders despite the difficulties." The reporter explains "the aid arrived inside the camp, but the cars loaded with it failed to arrive at the agreed point" (whether an original agreed point or the same one referred to by the first guy, unclear). And that's why they had to carry-convey boxes by hand, across a couple blocks worth of total rubble (see inset), worrying the whole time about snipers and food theft. A box for each family. After all this hassle and danger, maybe a week's worth of rice and a couple day's worth of extras. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:50, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Note above only "hundreds" of those UNRWA-stamped food boxes were reported as getting in on the 18th. On the 22nd, Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada reported there was virtually no more gotten through by then. And rather than ambiguous gunmen forcing a change of plans, this time it was government conditions that prevented the delivery.

On 21 January, staff from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, attempted once again to deliver food parcels to Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus, where thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian citizens are trapped. ... UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness gave this statement describing what happened:

(trimmed-down quote)

To date UNRWA has managed to deliver just a few hundred food parcels into Yarmouk, ... only a small number of families have so far been able to receive food parcels. ... UNRWA is working with Syrian authorities, who are facilitating the distribution, to do more to speed up the process ... UNRWA appreciates the steps taken so far to facilitate the delivery of food parcels to Yarmouk. However, humanitarian access is not yet sufficient to meet the desperate needs of civilians trapped in the camp. UNRWA is strongly urging that more should be done to provide access to many more civilians and to achieve safe, substantial and regular humanitarian access to Yarmouk.

Just what should be done to that end, and by whom, is left rather vague. Abuminah has this to point people in a more concrete direction:

The UNRWA statement is typically diplomatic, but hints at the fact that greater humanitarian access to the civilians trapped in Yarmouk camp remains in the hands of the Syrian army.
An eyewitness told The Electronic Intifada that distribution of relief supplies in recent days has been extremely slow as a result of a time-consuming process of identification and list-checking by government forces at the distribution point. On 18 and 20 January, for instance, numerous civilians were turned away and only a fraction of the available relief was distributed each day.
On 21 January, according to the eyewitness, UNRWA staff arrived at the northern Batikha entrance of Yarmouk before 11 AM. At 11:30, the team was permitted by government forces to enter the camp under the same government clearances that had allowed access for UNRWA staff on 18 and 20 January. UNRWA brought several dozen food parcels and other supplies to the to the Sama Street distribution point, approximately one kilometer south of the Batikha entrance and about 100 meters north of the front line.'
Please note the government forces, 100 meters from the best front line they could manage, are in charge of security. One thing that might slow them down, especially if armed people are intent on slowing them down, is having to fight people just to make the distribution area secure enough to continue. Because if anyone dies, "regime snipers" will clearly be blamed, for one reason. By this narrative, that played no role this time, but that security mandate is important background info when considering security forces' actions that day.--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
However, the distribution of the supplies was delayed for several hours by Syrian government forces as nine civilians were being evacuated. Finally the distrubution began at 2:45PM, but was again interrupted when an injured Palestinian man unsuccessfully tried to seek clearance to leave Yarmouk. Distribution then resumed, but at 4:45PM government forces shut the process down. By the end of the day, only about two dozen food parcels had been distributed in total and the UNRWA team left.
The reason the distribution was so slow is that that military personnel would only allow food parcels to be given to people whose name is on a list of 5,000 Yarmouk residents supplied to it by a Palestinian charity.
Wasn't it said that there were about 7,000 families to get aid, with some helped already? And that each family gets one box, handed right to a registered head of household? There seems to be fairly little discrepancy here, and to the extent there is, I'd side with the larger list and accuse the witness of rounding down.
Any other civilians approaching the distribution area seeking food were turned away.
And that is how you would enforce the reported policy of getting the food to the right people. All others are too likely dishonest nterlocutors intent on re-selling the aid at jacked-up camp prices, and/or terrorist helpers simply denying it to its designees to heighten the crisis. Thus, the lists must be checked and, unless the list can be shown wrong, anyone wanting to help would simply cooperate and move it along. It doesn't seem that's what happened. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

In fact, and these are all just thought exercises, but one way of reading this as that this time, the problem was too few of the legitimate designees were able to make it to the appointed place in the time span - which does sound summarily cut short. Additionally, some number of unauthorized people came in their place, perhaps just to make a show of being turned away. And a man approaching, perhaps considered a security threat, also shut things down. Perhaps someone sent him to disrupt things? The nine people needing evacuation just then managed to shut things down for "hours." With few details available, it's fair to wonder if they, the unauthorized people, or anyone else managed to drag out their obstruction of things and use it as an impediment? "Activists," for example, will do zany things sometimes when escalating crises suit them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

There was a collection of photos publicized by Hala Jaber on Twitter, from this distribution of the 21st. Lined up we see about 6 men, and a similar number of women, at that moment. Some can be seen walking back with boxes hefted on their shoulders, nearing sunset it seems. The piles of rubble here are gone, or pushed aside. The preceding photos show a mammoth operation to clear streets with bulldozers. This photo in particular is reminiscent of the Israelites walking through the parted Red Sea. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:32, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Substantial Aid Arrives

U.N. Palestinian refugee agency spokesman Chris Gunness said 1,028 food rations had been delivered to the neighborhood, in a “modest” launch of the rescue operation.
Each ration is enough to keep a family of eight going for 10 days, he told AFP.
He said earlier after the initial deliveries that there had been “chaotic scenes” as the food was distributed, the first to enter the neighborhood since Jan. 21, when UNRWA took in 138 food parcels.
Syria’s state news agency SANA also reported the aid distribution. “New food aid has entered Yarmouk camp, with the application of a peaceful, popular initiative supported by the Syrian government to alleviate the suffering of the residents surrounded in the camp, taken hostage by armed terrorist groups.”

More than just chaos, apparently, complicating things this time, unless this refers to a previous incident:

State television accused the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front of firing on aid workers and wounding several people during the distribution, while the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said unknown assailants were responsible for the incidents.
It was unclear if the shooting prevented some of the aid from reaching Yarmouk residents and UNRWA did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the incident.
Is "chaotic" a super-vague way of saying snipers shot people, injured some, and caused a panic?
This is mostly based on the same report above, including the exact mention of chaotic scenes, oddly selected to highlight, and "We are encouraged by the delivery of this aid and the cooperation of the parties on the ground," he said. But the part about a terrorist/unknown sniper incident agreed by SANA and SOHR is edited out to save space of course. It cuts right after Syria's ridiculous charge that "terrorists" were holding the Palestinians hostage, and worsening their suffering for their own gain. Fancy that. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:50, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) spokesman Chris Gunness said an aid convoy entered the camp in south Damascus on Friday morning. "UNRWA staff began distributing food parcels at 10 am (0800 GMT) and so far have handed out just under 100. This follows the distribution of 1,026 food parcels yesterday (Thursday)," he said.
Yarmouk Aid SANA Feb1.png

SANA, Feb. 1: More than 2500 food baskets delivered to al-Yarmouk Camp

Supervisor of the campaign of "Aiding Palestinians in al-Yarmouk Camp", Abu Kifah Ghazi said that more than 2500 food baskets were distributed in the Camp and about 450 persons were evacuated for health reasons.
Ghazi told SANA report on Saturday that the aid was supported by the Syrian government as to alleviate the suffering of the locals who are blockaded in the Camp by gunmen, adding that the gunmen are opening fire at paramedics and committees as to prevent food aid from being delivered to the locals.
In a rare instance of co-operation, Syria's government and opposition forces have worked together to evacuate hundreds of refugees from the Yarmouk camp, in an area controlled by opposition forces.
A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which is active in Yarmouk, said the group had coordinated with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent today and yesterday to evacuate hundreds of residents in the suburb.
The refugees were moved to several government-run hospitals and one operated by the Red Crescent, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group.
  • Feb. 2, SOHR reports "today started the distribution of the fifth batch of food aids on civilians of Yarmouk camp in street of Rama, accompanied by taking out the first group of students." Another post of the same day (about an hour later) testifies to more scenes of chaos, deadly this time. "Damascus province : a man from Yarmouk camp died by the dash of civilians in Al-Reja yard during the distribution of food aids." No trampling victims, noted as such, appear yet at the VDC. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:15, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

The Daily Star (via Al-Bawaba) named the trampling victim as Mahmoud Saadi. (The VDC still doesn't have him listed.) The report says that people started crowding into line at 1 am, and eventually there were far more people than parcels, and that the crowding contributed to the stampede that killed the one man and injured others.

The pro-opposition Yarmouk News Facebook page said that in the camp, there were “thousands of elderly and incapacitated people who have no breadwinner – it is very difficult for them to stand in a [500-meter-long] line, while the crowding of recent days has meant that a number of women and elderly people have been hurt.” [4]

The operation is centralized in one spot for a reason. A good solution for the waiting problem - 1, keep people who don't belong from bloating it so long in the first place. 2. appoint stand-ins and approved assistants to let able-bodied men carry food for neighbors too weak. This is probably already allowed, in fact. It's just to reasonable not to be.

The best thing would be if all those lining up and crowding and trampling would just stay away unless they have reason to believe they're actually one of the few thousand approved recipients. This would shorten the line and the wait, and the checking and turning away process, reduce crowding, "scenes of chaos," injuries, and death, and ultimately allow more people who need the food get the food as quickly as possible. Or ... those people can keep coming back in noisy hordes to fuck it up in a different way each time. Oh, and to blame Assad each time. That seems to be the consistent choice. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:49, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

More Delays, More Evacuations

  • McClatchy, via Miami Herlad, Feb. 17: 10 days since last food delivery in Syria's Yarmouk Camp "Monday was the 10th day in a row that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency has been kept from delivering food to the Yarmouk section of Damascus." The significance is the the boxes delivered are supposed to last a family ten days, so even the most recent deliveries will have run out. UNRWA's Chris Gunness said delays over unexplained "details" scuttled work on Thursday, and each day since, by decision of Syrian authorities.

On the 19th, it was reported, some 400 additional food parcels were gotten in and successfully distributed, and more civilians were allowed to leave. KUNA (Kuwait) cited a press statement from a Palestinian official (Anwar Abdulhadi ,PLO) for both pieces of news. About 700 people, including 50 college students, were evacuated. "The evacuation was conducted in line with a peaceful popular initiative to solve crisis in the camp and keep it away from the ongoing conflict in Syria," the report summed up, and "to enable the students continue their education." Head of the political department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a press statement, ... He pointed out that 400 food packages were distributed today and 700 people, including 50 students, were evacuated on humanitarian grounds, at Syrian universities in cooperation with Syrian and Palestinian red crescent and the medical department of PLO

Victims Analysis

Yarmouk Starvation Amal S.png

Amal Sheikho: adult female, age 24, reported on January 11 by LCC "martyred earlier this morning due to starvation." Fuller name given below: Amal Hussien [sic] Shaikho. Her VDC entry agrees except on name - presumably simple error led them lo list Ahmad Husain Sheikho, adult female, with the standard notes for Yarmouk starving victims. The  Video both link to is where I got the images here.

To me she looks starved, but not quite to death. Her clothing is odd, an extra-large sweatshirt awkwardly pulled over everything else, perhaps after death. Maybe that's to help her look more shrunken, or more importantly to hide something, or just bad fashion choices in grim days. The main thing I noticed is her similarity to the Aqrab captives of a year ago. Like them, it looks like she was held captive, denied food and water, and deliberately exposed to massive smoke to cut oxygen out as well. It looks someone then washed off her face, but not so much her neck, or the insides of her nostrils. More than usual, people in Yarmouk this winter have been exposing themselves to fire for simple heat, with electricity gone. But this must be day's worth, coating her hair too it seems, never washed off. Sure there's supposedly a water shortage too, but... this is quite possibly a clue to how certain Palestinians are starving in the rebel-held areas, like Aqrab was rebel-held. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:05, 17 January 2014 (UTC)


  • Syrian Solidarity Movement, statement, February 15, 2014: via Uprooted Palestinian Blog This outlines several points, the first two being background information.
3) The government of Syria did not instigate the present tragedy in Yarmouk. Rather, foreign fighters violated the declared neutrality of the camp and evicted about 200,000 of Yarmouk’s residents and looted their homes; (references: here and here and here and here)

""4) On February 5, 2014, Ambassador Anwar Abdul-Hadi, Director of the Political Bureau of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, blamed the foreign fighters for “embroiling the Palestinian refugee camps in the Syrian crisis that the organization has repeatedly declared non-interference in” and called on the foreign fighters to leave Yarmouk camp at once. (source)

We also note the following points regarding the government of Syria: (essentially, 1-3, they've been among the best friends of the Palestinians)
4 ) The government of Syria, in response to the depredations of the foreign fighters, laid siege to the camp trapping some residents inside without the necessities of life. In response to calls from international civil society, and thanks to the Geneva 2 Conference in Geneva, the Syrian government has been able to deliver limited humanitarian aid on a daily basis to Yarmouk camp since February 1, 2014, and, as of February 5, 2014, has granted safe passage out of Yarmouk camp to 2800 of its remaining residents. (reference)
Talks are currently taking place between representatives of the Syrian government and the armed opposition about resolving the humanitarian crisis in Yarmouk camp.
The SSM, therefore, urges the foreign fighters to respect the policy of neutrality of Yarmouk and of all the other Palestinian refugee camps in Syria and to quit these camps at once.
We also urge all combatant forces to grant safe passage out of Yarmouk camp to Palestinian residents and, once the camp is free of foreign fighters, we urge the Syrian government to facilitate the return of the Palestinian refugees, to help rebuild their homes, and to deliver to them humanitarian assistance.
Finally, we urge the movement in solidarity with Palestine to help maintain the neutrality of the Palestinian camps in Syria by refraining from signing statements of support for the foreign fighters who have entered Yarmouk and any of the other Palestinian refugee camps in Syria.
  • "Yarmouk Camp" Twitter Channel: Founded Jan 2, ran apparently 'til Jan. 18. Hmm... Visual prominence is given to the shocking images of human skeletons. There are some image, video, and article links in here that are new to me (like this infographic from Jan. 10) . The frenetic tweets, sometimes dozens in a single day, are generally free of specific blame either way, Rebel colors ate least are present. The assume the problem is that the world doesn't care enough to take whatever vague action is required to end the suffering. As if it's news, a sequence of tweets alerts us that Palestinians need food, then that they need water, etc. One near-exception to the lack of critical thought is this from Jan. 18: "Has anyone seen a pic of a malnurished fighter ? No I didn't think so !"
A multitude of slogans and symbols have emerged in the Gaza Strip to express support for the Palestinian refugees trapped in the Yarmouk camp in Syria. These symbols include empty pots and loaves of bread, along with the lighting of candles and carrying of coffins, to show solidarity with camp residents, who are suffering from the harshest of humanitarian crises.
“We want to convey a message,” Abu Silmiyeh told Al-Monitor, “that Palestinians have nothing to do with the events taking place in Syria and that what concerns us is that the camps be kept out of the ongoing conflict.”
Other young people took it upon themselves to produce documentary films that reflect the suffering of the camp’s inhabitants and demand that the siege on them be lifted. Among the films circulating on social networking sites is one entitled “Save Yarmouk Camp,” developed and produced by Abdel Aziz Naaman, and subsequently translated into English so that it reaches the widest possible audience around the world.
Preachers conducting Friday prayers on Jan. 10 asked worshippers for donations to be sent to the camp through aid convoys attempting to reach its inhabitants.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told Ma'an on Sunday, "There is profound civilian suffering in Yarmouk with widespread incidence of malnutrition and the absence of medical care, including for those who have severe conflict-related injuries, and including for women in childbirth, with fatal consequences for some women."
Fatah leader in Syria Adnan Ibrahim said he managed to enter the camp with several trucks of supplies from al-Sabina area but they were fired upon heavily and had to withdraw without distributing supplies.

Here's an article with some background and detail, bemoaning the situation:

A worst case scenario is unfolding in Syria and Palestinian refugees, particularly in the Yarmouk refugee camp, are paying a heavy price for Syria’s cruelest war. They are starving, although there can be no justification, nor logistical explanation, for why they are dying from hunger.

There is so a logical explanation, it's just not the siege and not easy to get al-Arabya to publish. To be fair, if he's suggesting there's no excuse for "the regime" to starve people like this, it's suggested softly. The article comes across as fairly even-handed, considering its provenance. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

An aid convoy heading to Yarmuk was targeted on Monday "some 100 metres (yards) away from the agreed meeting point," on the edges of the camp, Majdalani said at a press conference in Damascus.
He said "the source of fire was known... to be controlled by Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and Suqur al-Golan," directly accusing rebel groups battling Assad's troops.
Starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or the lack of medical aid in a Palestinian camp in Damascus besieged for months by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have killed at least 85 people, activists said Wednesday. ... The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said the first person died in Yarmouk in June, and that as of Wednesday a total of 85 people had perished there. Five days ago, activists and residents said the death toll stood at more than 60.
Note: That's just about what the VDC records show (see below) - from about 60 to about 85 in just a few days) --Caustic Logic (talk) 21:44, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
The need to open humanitarian corridors to ferry desperately needed aid into blockaded areas and to relieve civilian suffering has been one of the topics discussed at ongoing peace talks in Switzerland between the Syrian government and the opposition. Despite encouraging signs early in the discussions, no concrete progress has been made on that front.
Authorities recently allowed a few hundred food parcels into Yarmouk in what appeared to be a goodwill gesture ahead the peace talks, but residents said only a tiny amount of aid entered because government officials ordered aid workers to distribute the parcels in an area under sniper fire.
“Many here have slaughtered and eaten cats and dogs, and even a donkey,” said Yarmouk resident Ali, who was a university student when Syria’s revolt erupted in 2011.
“One man who killed a dog couldn’t find any meat to eat on its body, because even the dogs are starving,” he told AFP via Skype. “What was unimaginable a few months ago is normal now.” [3]
  • Eletronic Intifada, Jan. 26: “Don’t forget us here”: Photos reveal devastation in Syria’s Yarmouk camp: A re-posting of photos, taken by Ghassan Najjar on 20 January, tweeted the 26th by Hala Jaber. These show destroyed buildings collapsed into the streets, the bulldozing of pathways through the mess, and citizens queuing up in the paths for food. Only about six men and eight women are seen waiting, and then carrying boxes the other way, apparently near sunset. --Caustic Logic (talk) 21:44, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
“Bread is a dream for children inside Yarmouk Camp,” says Fuad ... Syria is dotted with sieges and blockades of cities, towns and districts which in some cases are producing mass starvation.
Unnoticed by the outside world, the largest single community currently besieged and on the edge of starvation in Syria lives in two Shia towns west if Aleppo, Zahraa and Nobl, with a combined population 45,000. In this case the besiegers are Sunni rebels who accuse the Shia townspeople of supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad and are seeking to starve them into submission.
Zahraa and Nubl form an isolated Shia pocket in an area where most of the people are Sunni supporting the rebels. The towns have received no supplies from the outside apart from an occasional delivery by a government helicopter. Raul Rosende, the head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Syria said: “We are concerned about the situation in Zahraa and Nubl where 45,000 people are under siege.”
(That siege is covered here at ACLOS - and it occurs to me they haven't gotten as much attention as Yarmouk because the way they run things inside does not yield starved-to-the-bone babies they put on Youtube and blame the government for. And that's their own fault they do things differently and suffer in silence.) --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:49, 30 January 2014 (UTC)


The martyrs database run by the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria (VDC) has been keeping a fairly close tab on the death toll in Yarmouk.

  • 39 Yarmuk/Yarmouk deaths by "other" as of January 12. Some carry the note "Martyred as a result of malnutrition and starvation because of the siege imposed by the forces of regime on the city , Palestinian nationality." Children and elderly predominate lately. I didn't see a clear match for the elderly man above, but this is another, died Jan. 11.
Also: Un-allowed to seek Medical help -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:18, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Good call. A smaller and murkier category, but part of this picture. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

"Other" will include more than starvation: medical problems, maybe car accidents, heart attacks (especially if it's from fear of regime this-or-that), and now winter cold. But mainly I think itll be suspiciously starved people. They start with a baby, Jana Ahmad Hasan, died August 18, 2013 from starvation (imposed by whoever) complicated by "lack of appropriate infant milk to her and did not accept any breastfeeding than any other nursing" and also by "note that her mother had not been able to access the camp a few days ago." Starvings picked up only in October: the regime starved a 92-year-old woman, Azizeih Muhammad Nouaeimi Oct. 15, a non-emaciated infant girl Oct. 28, a wasted 4-year-old boy (from Yarmouk, martyred in Hajar Aswad?) Nov. 2, etc. Deaths from "other" occur there on 11-10, 11-20, two on 12-16, 12-21, two on 12-23, 12-24, 12-26, four on 12-27, three on 12-29 and the food is really running low now. One dead each Dec. 30 and 31, three on January 1, three on the third, then five days there was a bit off food again? Jan. 8 two die, one the 9th, two baby girls the 10th, two women and a man on the 11th, two men (Qurabi and Shihada) on the 12th.

Jan. 13, two more, both starving victims. A man Basel Hasan Shehabiand a woman Nour. Added later, another woman with no family name given also died the 13th: Nora. "Full name was not received, Martyred as a result of malnutrition and starvation because of the siege imposed by the forces of regime on the city." That will be 42 others now.
Starved to death Jan. 14: Safia Deeb al-Shibly Adult female - Hussain al-Nazzal Adult Female.
Since then: six more. Jan 15: Mariam Abd al-Raheem (AF, no details) Tayseer al-Tabae (AM, no details, but a photo shows something tore the flesh off the back of his right hand, perhaps well before death. Also, he seems starved but not fully - might have died another way). Jan 16: Ahmad Abd al-Hamid Mohammad (AM age 24 Palestinian nationality). Jan 17: Ismaeil Abdullah (AM, from Yarmouk but Martyrdom location: Damascus Suburbs: Najha - ?) Najah Mohammad al-Bokaei (AF Palestinian nationality). Jan 18: Yasin Anees Abo Madi (AM age 76, Palestinian nationality). That should mark 50. Running tabs in the media have been slightly higher, but about on this par. The higher numbers are to be favored - VDC records often miss a few. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:50, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Actually it was 51 somehow, but now it's 50 again. I checked and it's the woman Nour whose entry no longer exists. May mean nothing, or something. I don't know. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:44, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

As of January 25, the number has climbed to 63 dead. Only eight entries, all men, were added after #50 Mr. Madi. So clearly there have been some prior gaps filled in, making their tally probably on par with anyone else's. With the recent adult additions, it's far enough in to call a broad pattern. After January 10, when two young girls managed to starve to death on the same day, one famously, not a single child has entered the list in over two weeks. That's one shady pattern eliminated or minimized. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:38, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Wow. Far from backing off on a failed propaganda effort, the starvation has accelerated. In three further days, by the 28th, 21 more died from "other" in Yarmouk camp for a total of 84. Children are back in the game: on the 26th a baby boy, maybe 18 months old, died skeletal. On the 28th, two baby girls, one 4 months old, the other 25 days old, died the same way. Possibly interesting names recently: Betar, Shehade, Jbaili. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:41, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
A couple more days and it's slowed down a bit. Three more for 87. Nhar Mohammad Shtewi Palestinian and adult male, died Jan. 31 alongside (his wife?) Hamda Saied Shtewi, adult female and Palestinian. Notes: "knowing that none of her family members is in the Camp, she is of Bahatra tribe." Video: v1 v2. And the same day, Rawan Riad Taleb, girl, 40 days old. No one died the 30th, and among the last considered above, consider one's picture: Abd al-Mahfouth al-Naji, age 42, died Jan. 29 from hunger, it says, but that doesn't explain what knocked out all his front teeth. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:41, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
Further deaths from "other" - one more entry, not sure which, was deleted recently. But more have been added (a boy, a baby boy, a man, and an old woman), for a total of 92. Now the starvers have drawn so close to that magical 100 mark, and its fresh cause to blame Assad, we can expect the next eight or so to come in a little quicker. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:30, 6 February 2014 (UTC)
VDC hit 100 on the 11th. Others will be slightly ahead. A boy (no age given) and a newborn girl are among the new dead. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:31, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Rest of 2014

After February 11 the list kept growing, still almost totally adults, but with a few more children as well, now (November 17) totalling 145. Another several died before February was out, 12 total are listed in March, 6 in April, 2 in May, one in June, three in July, and one man died August 8 from diabetes complications after release from prison, it says. So at least one doesn't really count. Then no deaths recorded at all for the fall, until just the other day: three starvation deaths in November, 2014, all adult women. 63-year-old Palestinian woman, Nov. 11 - 41-year-old "man" named Huda (woman's name) Nov. 14 - 65-year-old Palestinian woman, Nov. 14, all listed as dying from actual starvation/malnutrition. From this, we can deduce the rebels still control Yarmouk, but they are still upset about the government's blockade of their weaponized neighborhood, keeping it from being as effective as it could be for them. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:25, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Unusual Cases

October 26, 2013: Mahmod Ahmad Alaa Eddin from Yarmuk Camp "Palestinian, Martyred due to eating wheat grains contaminated with mice poison, because of the food shortage because of the siege imposed by the forces of regime on the city, which led to hair loss then death, members of his family are still sick due to the same reason." I could swear I'd seen another entry, in Yarmouk the same basic time, got sick from grain purposefully poisoned - by Shabiha. Can't re-locate it right now. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:42, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

February 3, 2013: 12-year-old Derar Omar Ghbari died from "Un-allowed to seek Medical help." He actually was allowed finally to seek it, apparently one of these allowed to leave for medical reasons in recent days. But it was too little, too late for him. "Martyred after being admitted in Umaya Hospital, knowing that he was in the besieged neighborhoods and he had Wilson disease and needed a liver transplant."


Local Coordination Committees daily reports will add some alleged details. These have bee have been running a day or two behind, just now adding the 13th. Damascus seems to be the top story, and Yarmouk the top part of that. For all reports, warning - graphic videos, many of them, embedded right there waiting for you to accidentally click play. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:01, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Jan 12: "129 martyrs including 14 children, 20 women and 9 martyrs under torture: 90 martyrs were reported in Aleppo; 15 in Homs; 14 in Damascus and its Suburbs..." Top photo: the twelve starved men photo, captioned: Damascus : This picture, taken by a defector from Assad's intelligence services prior to his defection, shows the emaciated bodies of a few of the Assad regime detainees tortured and starved to death daily in the regime's infamous '215' military security prison in Damascus. The victims' bodies have been scrawled on with marker pen for identification and disposal.

Videos: A report, filmed earlier today, from Palestinian activist Rani Al-Sayed in Yarmouk about conditions in the camp, where children, women and men are dying of starvation daily under the siege by the 'pro-Palestinian' Assad regime's forces and their accomplices, which has now continued for 183 days. - Assad’s SAA starve out the #Palestinian people of #Yarmouk camp in DamascusYarmouk Camp,Damascus: Palestinian kid Israa Almasri starved to death. Text: Damascus: Yaymouk Camp: A sit-in by the residents of the camp, demanding to break the siege and the introduction of food and medical supplies to the area.

Text: Yarmouk Camp: A sit-in of the camp's residents demanding to break the siege and entering food and medical materials to the area. - Damascus: Yarmouk Camp: Basel Hasan Al Shehabi,72, and Ms Nour were martyred due to lack of food and the seige in the neighborhood. Damascus: Yarmouk Campp: Mhmoud Sbagh,10, Majd al-Awad and Zyad Naji were martyred by regime's snipers in the neighborhood.

Opinion and Commentary

  • Ali Abunimah, Electronic Initifada, Jan 13: “Profound civilian suffering” in Syria’s besieged Yarmouk camp: This article adds little, and lays the blame clearly on the blockade. I felt a counter-point was needed and left a comment. In case it's deleted, I reserve the right to preserve it here. In fact, I'm not seeing it there at all. I'll try and submit it one more time and check back tomorrow. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:17, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Alright, my first comment I could fault ... toned it down, left little excuse not to publish it, and it was published. Good. Unless it's removed, I direct readers there for what I asked and any response from the author, which I invited. A prior comment (of two so far) also struck a contrary note, more political but less incisive than mine. Both appear. So this guy Ali might be okay. But I'm a cynic, so eh... --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:36, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
There isn't much the Palestinian people haven't suffered. But the use of enforced starvation against them by the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad at the Yarmouk refugee camp breaks new ground in cruelty. Hundreds are said to be facing imminent death by starvation, lack of water and medical care, and the loss, for almost a year now, of all heat and electricity.
As Adam Larson I left a comment here that appears for now. And a couple follow-up ones in reply to question-raiser "FSA MAKE GENOCIDE ON PALESTINIANS." --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:36, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Today, the unfolding events are 100 percent a Palestinian responsibility. This is a fact, and those who deny it should present us with evidence, not slogans. They should admit that Palestinians in Syria enjoyed advantages that their counterparts were deprived of in every corner of the world – advantages not even enjoyed in Gaza and the West Bank. In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.
There are very few Arab intellectuals who have displayed the same unwavering commitment to the Resistance and the Palestinian cause as Al-Akhbar’s editor- in- chief, Ibrahim al-Amin. It is precisely because of this that his recent commentary, “Yarmouk – A Palestinian Responsibility,” astounded and disturbed many of us in the Resistance camp.
Re: the al-Akhbar pieces above - I'm glad people of influence are saying this, and drawing attention to it. Sorry, are my rants too much? i think they add character, up to a point I'm near. Anyway ... Assad hates the Palestinians! He's their enemy! HE's killing them for the Israelis! People crow this. As proof, starved innocents in rebel control, etc. A clever plan is implied by their stupid story. Take good care of them in Syria, keep them there, loyal, lulled into a false sense of security. Wait until there's an uprising by "foreign terrorist" types that take over Yarmouk. Then, engineer the death of Palestinans only then, to I guess make the "terrorist" types "look bad." Evidence that's being done here: the half-terrorist administrators do look kind of bad for the people of Yarmouk, when you pay a little attention. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
Interesting collection of stuff there. Images I haven't seen yet. Looks like his "slaughterhouse" shot is there for comparison with the preview photo. That's a lot of bodies there. I submitted a comment, or actually two, mainly on Yarmouk. Seems I've joined CE in the category of people not allowed to comment there. The usual bickerers get approved for each and every retort, but not someone who's going to stay on topic and own it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Section 215 Starving Victims

Yarmouk 12 starved men.jpg

Note: Nothing (I've seen yet) says these victims were Palestinians or directly connected to the starvation in Yarmouk, except by being in the same basic Damascus area and time. However, that alone makes it worth considering, and there may be more to it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:01, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

In fact, this seems to be a preview of the now-infamous Torture Photos from "Caesar", publicized a week later. See that page for details on the photos and related issues, and this talk page section for any notes we may add on how this picture links to that propaganda effort (and/or whether it does). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:07, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Ammar Abdulhamid: Amongst his deceptive commentary, Abdulhamid shares a rather shocking image that may be a whole new twist. I see 12 fighting age men here, killed at once (and recently) either by starvation or (how do 12+ men starve to death at once?) preceded by some degree of it. Some are fully emaciated, others just skinny and not visibly shot - possibly suffocated. Most are naked, but that's blurred. The regime alone can be blamed for this, he says, due to the numbers written on their chests. Abdulhamid explains:
Now, this horrific image currently making round on social media sites seem to capture this truth: the numbers on the rotten [sic] cadavers, denote the security branch responsible for this massacre. In this case, it’s the infamous Section 215 of the military intelligence apparatus. The emaciated bodies of the dead underscore the living conditions prevailing in the camps. The picture was reportedly smuggled out by a defector, and while its authenticity is yet to be confirmed, it’s consistent with the myriad eyewitness accounts given to Human Rights Watch, among other organizations.

The VDC at least doesn't yet reflect any such batch of victims, but that could change. So ... they starved some Palestinians in the 215 branch prison, and when enough had starved it was time to make the biggest batch they could at the moment, wrote that on the corpses - for internal administrative purposes? Then they dropped the bodies off somewhere rebels would find them swiftly and advertise the stamp of guilt. Clearly if true, the regime thugs wanted the rebels to do this, so the authorities could awkwardly deny it and blame the terrorists, which of course is just silly. They don't have markers! --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, wasn't paying close enough attention. They claim a defector took the photo, behind the scenes, and the bodies have since disappeared with presumably no documentation, presumably among the thousands dug up (by whoever) after the war. Expecting no further info and Moving on from that point, then ... --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:47, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Petri - who's stamp is that? They seem to be the contacts with this "defector" --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:47, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
Damascus : This picture, taken by a defector from Assad's intelligence services prior to his defection, shows the emaciated bodies of a few of the Assad regime detainees tortured and starved to death daily in the regime's infamous '215' military security prison in Damascus. The victims' bodies have been scrawled on with marker pen for identification and disposal.

What this image is supposed to show, apparently, is that there's an overall regime design to starve people at this time. So whatever you might say about the role of food distribution within rebel-held areas of Yarmouk, Assad is the one starving people anywhere possible now, especially in areas, like the section 215 prison, which he controls. Therefore, it's probably Assad who, true to proven form, is making it so ... the rebels just cannot manage to share their food with certain babies and other people who - incidentally - would make great camera-fodder. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:01, 16 January 2014 (UTC)



Starvation as a result of siege: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:49, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

  • FACING STARVATION, HOMS CITIZENS CHOOSE DISPLACEMENT – Elizabeth Parker-Magyar, Abdulrahman al-Masri and Gioia Forster, February 13, 2014
    • (Spam filter!)
For the 1,400 Syrians evacuated from in Old Homs since Friday, the decision to leave their homes and risk government arrest after two years under siege marks surrender to an insurmountable foe: starvation.
“People have survived by eating grass, leaves, anything they could find; they have not had access to bread for 5 months,” a spokesperson for the World Food Program in Syria, Dina El-Kassaby, told Syria Direct.
“People evacuating the old city look exhausted, thin, tired, gaunt, weak and frail.”

This issue deserves its own page, in time. I'm way behind on the subject, but have a few things to add now, none of them (or the report above) reviewed yet:

Today is the third day in which civilians from the besieged Homs were being evacuated, and it was the third day that saw the regime break the ceasefire once again by targeting them. This is the moment they were shelled and many casualties are sprawled on the floor.
Only a moment after the mortars landed on the "evacuation area", a video showing the martyrs and injuries.
A bunch of other videos from Homs, and the liberation of (but not massacre in) Ma'an, etc. - one from Homs shows a victims of shelling or snipers or whatever, whose throat looks possibly sliced.--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


The Yarmouk ceasefire deal is finally put into action.

  • ISIS begins to vacate Hajar Al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp in rural Damascus - Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News, January 19, 2016
    "Last month, an agreement was put in place that would allow for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists to be transported from southern Damascus to the Al-Raqqa Government as part of a ceasefire deal to end the hostilities inside of Hajar Al-Aswad, Yarmouk Camp, Al-Qadam, and Taqdam.
    The ceasefire agreement included the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham/Free Syrian Army, and ISIS – the only group that is required to vacate this area of southern is ISIS."

2021, Pro rebel film - Little Palestine, (Diary of a Siege)

A film by Abdallah Al-Khatib portraying an account of events in Yarmouk is doing the rounds at film festivals. It has received Qatari funding From reading reviews Middle East Monitor,Times of Israel, it demonizes the Syrian govt as responsible for starvation. Although the film's marketing says he left the camp in 2015 when ISIS took over, the media activist was apparently nearby in South Damascus:

“The situation in the Yarmouk camp is 10 times worse than the situation was in East Ghouta when it was coming under attack,” says Abdullah al-Khatib, a 29-year-old media activist from south Damascus. “At least in East Ghouta, civilians had access to rescue workers like Syrian Civil Defense and medical facilities.”
... “All those who don’t work with ISIS in the camp, are fated to die,” al-Khatib says. “If shelling hits, they have no place to hide and no hospitals to go to,” he adds, explaining that unlike in Eastern Ghouta, residents do not have access to equipped makeshift bunkers to shield them from government bombardment.[1]

He left the area in 2018 to northern Syria (probably on a green bus).

2015, the Islamic state entered the region. I went to a village south of Damascus. In 2018, the Syrian regime issued an ultimatum: “you are with or against us”. I was forced to go to northern Syria near the Turkish border. Today, there are very few people left in Yarmouk. 80% of the camp was destroyed.[2]

I wonder if CL ever did a blog piece on the Yarmouk starvation photos. --Diagonal (talk) 10:27, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

In general, problems may be kept as means to the ends; e.g. it's said that "Arab League has instructed that Palestinians living in Arab countries should not be given citizenship to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right to return to their homeland" (sourcing not to solid but claim present, eg here) So Asad likely not inclined from the start to do much to assure that they prosper, and in a war involving multiple crazies, it would not come too pretty I guess? --Resup (talk) 22:25, 17 November 2021 (UTC)


  1. Hunger grips Damascus’ Yarmouk as civilians plead for relief from war By Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Foreign Staff, January 18, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Palestinians flee hunger and hell of Syria camp AFP via Times of Israel, February 4, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 20,000 people in Yarmouk camp face starvationAFP via, January 29, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Syria: Four Yarmouk residents die from starvation despite aid deliveries Al-Bawaba, February 3rd, 2014 - 07:10 GMT via (from The Daily Star)
  5. Inside the hellhole of Yarmouk, the refugee camp that shames the world By Christopher Gunness, The Observer (the Guardian) February 8, 2014
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named McC 1-18
  7. Syria News - January 11, 2014 (Warning: Graphic Videos) LCC via Uruknet