Hunger as a weapon of war: Yarmouk Syrians ‘eat cats and dogs’

New Amnesty International report finds that around 17,000 to 20,000 civilians are still trapped in Yarmouk in miserable conditions

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Syrians in the Damascus district of Yarmouk are being forced to eat dogs, cats and inedible plants, a new Amnesty International report released on Monday has found.

Starvation is being used as a “weapon of war,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa director said in the report.


"The Syrian government has committed numerous war crimes as part of the siege of Yarmouk," Amnesty said.

"Hundreds of civilian residents of Yarmouk have been killed, wounded or have perished as a result of deliberate starvation and destruction of their means of support, direct attacks on civilians and indiscriminate attacks."

Around 17,000 to 20,000 civilians are still trapped in Yarmouk in miserable conditions since the district has been subject to deadly raid attacks from the Syrian army and their allies on civilian buildings, with schools, hospitals and a mosque attacked.

“The harrowing accounts of families having to resort to eating cats and dogs, and civilians attacked by snipers as they forage for food, have become all too familiar details of the horror story that has materialized in Yarmouk,” Britain's Daily Mail reported, citing the report.

Statistics show that nearly 200 people died from starvation and malnutrition from July 2013 – when the Syrian army cut off access for food and medical supplies – to Feb. 22, 2014.

Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, is one of several districts on the edge of the Syrian capital which the army has surrounded to choke off rebel forces seeking Assad's overthrow.

Amnesty listed 194 people it said were civilians who had died in Yarmouk since then. Two thirds were reported to have died of starvation, the London-based human rights group said.

(With Reuters)

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