Sound and picture – Exclusive
IS blockade on Deir Ezzor areas controlled by the Regime forces continues, which led to a deterioration of the living conditions threatening thousands’ lives . The beginning of siege. In 16/1/2015 IS imposed a suffocating siege on regime controlled areas in Deir Ezzor cutting all the roads around the city. Civil rights activist “Mazen Hamada Besis” from Deir Ezzor said: IS cut all the roads that lead to the neighborhoods under the regime control, and cut off Damascus-Dier Ezzor road , Alraq- Deir Ezzor , and El Geneina river crossing point, leaving the neighborhoods isolated. Hamada added that IS prevents the entry of the daily needed supplies such as food, medicine and fuel, even it prevents people to pass no matter what the reason is. The activist confirmed that these neighborhoods’ population exceeded 300 000, mostly women and children, 30% are the original residents of those besieged neighborhoods and 70% are displaced people from the liberated areas of Deir Ezzor. The land of Kuffar (Blasphemers) IS besieges neighborhoods, saying that all those who are inside are apostates who support the regime, ignoring that the regime itself prevents them from moving out in order to use them as a human shields against IS. Assaad from “Alqosor” besieged neighborhood said: “I am considered as a kaffer (blasphemer) according to IS because I live in this place, thus it is permissible to be killed, as if the place defines Islam, not the heart”. “IS” in Assaad’s opinion has aimed through the blockade to force civilians who live in the besieged neighborhoods to evacuate the area, paving the way for IS to storm and control it. Worth mentioning, that IS has failed within six months of the siege to evacuate civilians out of their homes except for very few cases. Without Electricity, Water or Communications. Due to the cut off power supply by IS, this neighborhoods controlled by the regime and sieged by IS, now live in darkness. Activist “Zaid Alfourati” from Deir Ezzor said to “Sound and Picture”: “After IS cut off “Taim Alomar Oilfield” power supply, this area has been – for more than 60 days- without electricity, which caused a breaking down of water plants and service institutions in those areas in general.” “Um Ahmed” from “Alqosour” neighborhood said : “We are making a big efforts to get drinking water because of the water plants Stoppage . The civilians in besieged areas are living now the era of the Stone Age, and those who have been fortunate have some candles to illuminates the darkness of night”. IS also cut off the communications and mobile phone services in Deir Ezzor in general, including the besieged neighborhoods. “Alfourati” confirmed that IS has cut the optical cable of the city that comes from “Alchola” area north of Deir Ezzor , causing an interruption of communication services in the city in general, but after a period of isolation from the world, the regime installed a communication space tower inside “Aljoura” neighborhood, which provided communication services in the areas under a mutual regime-IS control. Rise in Prices and Scarcity Besieged areas are suffering from severe and significant lack of food supplies because of the siege period which has lasted for a long time. The activist “Mohammed Khudair” said to the “Sound and Picture” that the ongoing blockade for six months till now has resulted in a disastrous situation, prices increased dramatically, the price of a loaf of bread has reached more than 150 SP, the price of 1 kilo of bulgur becomes more than 1,350 SP , and a kilo of sugar is 2200 SP (if available). The Khudair assured the rarity of fuel in the besieged areas, which has reached an insane prices if found, so one liter of diesel for 1400 SP and gasoline ranges between 2000 and 2500 SP. “Wadah” from “Aljora” neighborhood said: “It has been more than two months since we live on some bread crumbs, water and thyme, and sometimes we get some cabbage which basically comes from “Albaghile” .
Lack of Medication and Spread of Disease In besieged areas there is a great shortage of medicine and lots of empty semi pharmacies with little chronic illnesses drugs such as heart medicine, pressure and sugar medications. Dr. Muthanna confirms that many of the cases which suffer from chronic diseases have moved out of the besieged areas due to the lack of medicine, after paying a sum of money to the regime checkpoints in order to allow them to travel by airplanes, mostly they went to Damascus. The siege effects were not only confined to the shortage of medicine, but also led to the spread of many diseases, including lack of nutrition, anemia and skin diseases such as lice and scabies. “Samer” a teacher in the besieged area said: “As a result of the siege and lack of cleansers, scabies and lice spread among students and their families , forcing many schools to stop the teaching process because of the rapid spread of these diseases. Death is Everywhere The siege and its outcomes were not limited to the lack of food but it came to a serious repercussions, including death out of hunger and IS’s attacks specially on “Aljora” neighborhood. “Abu Zain” said: “recently a fatigue and tiredness appeared in the faces of parents after a long period of siege. in the past two months, two death cases out of hunger have been recorded and many other cases of syncope as a result of malnutrition. You may encounter one or two fainting conditions as walking every day . “Abu Zain”also said: “ Hunger is not the only cause of death in the besieged areas now, IS’s bombing has increased the suffering and death, too. In the last month, more than 11 people died as a result of shelling on the besieged areas. Death surrounds civilians everywhere. The Regime is a Partner in the Siege The regime is an actual partner in the siege imposed on civilians in those neighborhoods. This what was confirmed by the besieged citizens and activists. “Yara” one of the people there said: “the regime provides supplies to its soldiers in Dier Ezzor by air left between Damascus and Deir Ezzor, and does not secure the civilians needs, despite repeated requests from parents and local organizations, in particular the Syrian Arab Red Crescent”. Yara added that the regime did not respond in the very beginning, but lately , it sent some supplies to the besieged areas by “Ilyushin”?? but this supplies fell in the hands of traders and security officers who distributed them on the basis of favoritism and sold them with high prices. The Regime Takes Money from Families to Allow them to Move Out In the past days, the regime allowed some families to leave the besieged areas towards Idleb. “Omar Ahmed” said that regime forces allowed nearly 100 people to get out of “Aljora” neighborhood through “Albaghile” river crossing between the besieged areas and the liberated western areas. Ahmed also mentioned that there are a lot of moving out cases which are made with the consent of the regime, either paid with money , or through nepotism. Omar was able to go out four days ago after paying an amount of 50 000 SP as a bribe to a commander in the “Altalae” checkpoint who secured his release.
No Solution in Horizon Months gone, the siege continued without solutions, neither the regime is able to break the siege nor IS is able to access and control over. Only civilians are forced to live in this nightmare and its effects.