A food embargo in Aleppo: there is "no bread"

Article from the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service, Fides


A banner erected in Aleppo by rebel forces which orders a "food embargo" and forbids the transfer of food.
A banner erected in Aleppo by rebel forces which orders a "food embargo" and forbids the transfer of food.

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - Supplies and goods have been blocked, including food, a real "food embargo", which is devastating the civilian population of Aleppo. The block, now in its seventh day, was imposed by rebel groups that control the northeast region of the city that now threaten even the interruption of water supply. The "rebels" are jagged in numerous groups and factions, some Islamists and jihadists such as "Jubhat al nosra", "Liwaa al tawhid", "Aasifat al Shimal", "Souqqour al shahba" and others, in which fighters from Afghanistan , Libya, Caucasus, from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and other countries enlist. The city is split in two, a part under the control of the army (Southeast) and half under the control of armed groups (Northeast). It has been transformed into a "battlefield", with serious damage to the civilian population, of every race and religion, and sees destroyed its precious historical and cultural heritage.


Friar Bernard, one of the five Franciscan friars who has decided to remain in the city, in the convent of San Francesco, explains to Fides: "Famine is upon us. People are afraid, impoverished and cries. We focus on helping families and refugees. The Christian areas are in the middle between the area controlled by the army and the armed groups. The suffering of the civilian population is immense. The block of food is against all basic humanitarian law. People find it hard to even get bread".

The rebels took control of the road that links Aleppo to Hama. In the past few days there have been violent military clashes. Meanwhile, there is very little food supply and prices have skyrocketed. Vegetables are hard to find, because farmers are prevented from entering in the western suburbs of Aleppo. "In Aleppo, if the embargo continues, a humanitarian crisis is imminent", warns Friar Bernard.

Muhammad M., a Sunni Muslim, a professor at the University of Aleppo, told Fides: "The belligerents must explain to us the reason of so much killing of innocent people and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. Why is there a battle n the residential areas of the city? This destruction has not been seen for centuries". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 11/07/2013)


Note: Illustration and description added by this blog


Aleppo residents protest the "food embargo" 09/07/2013

Aleppo residents on the rebel controlled side of the crossing point protest the "food embargo" during which an armed rebel comes among the crowd (0.34 min) to disband the protest.


FSA Food Embargo (Aleppo 10/07/2013)

Video and description courtesy of syriareport.net

“Another video posted today, shows what appears to be an insurgent checkpoint – where a non-Syrian militant searches a civilian’s belongings to find food concealed – in violation of the embargo. Syrians communicating on social media have pointed to the insurgents non-native accent.”


"The last battle we face is economic warfare" 14/07/2013

Al Maydeen TV Lebanon interviews residents in Aleppo about the effects of the food embargo and siege. With English subtitles.

Update 14/07/2013 some food aid and essential commodities are now reaching west Aleppo. Video news report from Syrian media al-Ikhbaria here (in Arabic only)

Other instances of "food embargo" and siege by rebel groups in Syria.

Over 12 thousand Christian faithful "starving" in the village of Rableh: humanitarian law is invoked. 22/08/2012

Article from the Vatican’s Pontifical Missions news service, Fides


Rableh (Agenzia Fides) - Over 12 thousand faithful Greek-Catholics are trapped in the village of Rableh, west of Qusayr, in the area of Homs. Food is scarce, the faithful are living on "bread and water", medicine is lacking to treat the sick and wounded. This is the alarm raised by local sources of Fides that invoke respect for humanitarian law, that confirm what the international press is reporting on the situation in Rableh. Read more here


In Syria, Sunni rebels besiege Shiite villages. 18/10/12


Article from AP Associated Press


BEYANON, Syria (AP) — Anyone who dares try to slip out of the Shiite villages of Zahraa and Nubl is risking their life. Sunni rebel snipers outside are ready to gun them down. Roads out are blocked with barricades and checkpoints. Twice a day government helicopters bring residents supplies in a crucial lifeline. Read more here


Syria - Al-Qaeda and friends plus Turkey are thieves and rob the Syrian people. 23/12/12

Article from an activist/journalist in Turkey details the looting, by rebels, of Syrian grain and bread later sold in Turkey.

December 21st 2012 edition of Turkish newspaper Sol with the headline “Free Bread Thieves"
December 21st 2012 edition of Turkish newspaper Sol with the headline “Free Bread Thieves"

From Ali, a Turkish journalist: "We cover the theft of FSA... The headline "Free Bread Thieves" Also our journalist in Hatay took the pictures of the guys who are selling Syrian bread. It is much more cheaper than the Turkish bread so the demand is enormous. The town people are telling that the some Syrians are bringing the bread with vans. They also seize the international aid for Syrian people."A Turkish journalist working in the area near the border with Syria has been sending me reports about some unreported activities by the Free Syrian Army. He writes: "Just two days before the "food crise" in Aleppo, I hear many of my friends from Hatay that they started to see some Syrians are selling the bread in the city. Turkish breads are not same those in Syria even in Hatay. And I have to give you a name. Abdulqader As Salah a commander of Tawheed Brigades who has very close ties with Turkish intelligence. He is now selling "wheat" in Gaziantep province of Turkey. I am a Turkish journalist at the very beginning of this crisis I hear same thing from the Kurds in Ceylanpinar

(a border town near Ras Al-Ayn). I am a Turkish journalist at the very beginning of this crisis I hear same thing from the Kurds in Ceylanpinar (a border town near Ras Al-Ayn) The Kurds who escaped from the battle between FSA and Kurdish militias told me that they saw some FSA members looting the wheat silos. Continue reading here.


Petition to Journalists asking for responsible and accountable reporting on Syria. Please sign

H.E. The Sunni Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun - I am the Mufti of all Syrians – Sunni Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze – of all the diversity of sects we had before the war. There is no choice other than reconciliation."

H.B. John X Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -

The Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch in Syria, John Yazigi, says Syrian Christians "will not submit and yield" to foreign-backed extremist militants who attack "our people and holy places."

H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, Sunni Grand Mufti of Lebanon - “Christians’ fears nowadays over their presence and their dignity in the Middle East are right and justified”

H.B Cardinal Bechara Rai, Maronite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - The West and other countries are helping to foment conflict in the Middle East "there is a plan to destroy the Arab world for political and economic interests"

H.E Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, Deputy President of the Higher Shiite Council Lebanon - Called on the U.S to “work on giving people their freedom in Syria by refraining from supporting radical Islamists and criminals who are killing innocent people and violating their freedoms.

 H.B. Gregorios III Laham, Melkite greek-Catholic Patriarch of Antioch - "Every day Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them."

H.H. Mor Ignatios Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (R.I.P.) - "Syrians are the only ones who will decide their destiny, and that decision will be taken in Damascus, not in a European country."

H.H. Mor Ignatius Ephrem II Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch -  “Christians and Muslims alike are exposed to a terrorist war in the region”.... the Patriarch denounced the silence of the world regarding crimes committed by armed terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

H.B. Youssef III Younan,  Syriac Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch - "We Syrian Christians, sold by the West for oil” - "Christians in the Middle East have not only been abandoned, but we have been lied to and betrayed by Western nations, like the United States and the European Union."

H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, “Who appointed them [United States] as ‘policemen of democracy’ in the Middle East? ”

H.E. Maroun Laham, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan  - “This interest, on the part of the United States or of Europe, for human rights or for the defence of the weak, no one believes. No one believes it!,”

H.E. Jacques Behnan Hindo,  Syriac Catholic Archbishop ofHassaké-Nisibi (northeastern Syria) - Regarding the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabuis “Please excuse my expression. They are screwing all Syrians

H.E. Theodosius Hanna, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia (Nablus, Palestine) - "Will the displacement of Christians from Syria, their killing and slaughter and the destruction of their churches lead to an alleged democracy?"

Rev. Georges Massouh Antiochian Orthodox priest and director of the Christian Muslim Studies Center at Balamand University, Lebanon. "It goes without saying that Christians in Syria do not consider themselves greater or more important that their Muslim partners in the one nation. They find themselves in solidarity with all the people of Syria, in the calamities that they share and the strikes that fall upon all their heads."