Today, however, we received the following distressing statement from the Specialist Hospital in al Foua:
Statement by the Specialist Hospital of Al Fua and the People of the Besieged Towns of Al Fua and Kefraya on the Recent UN Humanitarian Aid Delivery
Residents of the two towns besieged by al-Qaeda terrorist gangs received, with a great deal of hope, the news of an international agreement in Munich, regarding the facilitation of humanitarian aid deliveries to the besieged areas. The hope came after a long-standing series of disappointments due to irresponsible behaviour, mistakes and the bad practices of the International organizations concerned.
Accumulated instances of malpractice have led us to conclude that these organisations have deliberately penalised the residents of Kafarya and Foua.
The hopes of the hungry children and the elderly patients quickly faded and were downtrodden as the roar of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent trucks arriving in our towns subsided and we saw the poor quality of the goods being delivered. Many of the items were damaged or perished. Many of the supplies had to be destroyed as they were useless. Equally many of the items essential to ensure the continuation of hospital work and to meet civilian’s basic needs were simply not delivered.
We, in the only hospital in the towns, and on behalf of our suffering people, call the United Nations and its representative in Syria, Mr Staffan de Mistura, to listen to the following:
The United Nations and its affiliated organizations are not dealing realistically with the needs of the population. They seem to act in accordance with programs designed for other regions of the world that suffer from entirely different problems. Mr. de Mistura please take note that we are in Syria, in a rich and generous land surrounded by militants belonging to globally classified terrorist groups. We are not in Somalia suffering from famine caused by drought and desertification. We emphasize that the continuation of this policy and the ignoring of our repeated requests [ that are transmitted through officially adopted channels of communication] is forcing us to conclude that these policies are deliberate and are stemming from malicious intent rather than just negligence and irresponsibility.
International Organizations consistently ignore very specific and clear needs and are assiduously failing to meet those needs time after time. Especially for some medical supplies and essential medicines, like the anaesthesia drugs, sterilization and hygiene products. Our medical staff are wondering if they are expected to conduct surgical operations in the hospital without anaesthesia. Or is the hospital destined, by you, to become the incubator for the spread of infections rather than as a centre for healing them?
The hospital is also surprised by the lack of supplies of diabetes medications in particular, especially insulin, as well as anti-hypertensive drugs, diuretics and many other chronic disease medications. Would you, Mr de Mistura accept this situation for your own family or loved ones? Do you feel good when the health conditions of our diabetic patients gradually deteriorate to a slow death. A tragedy that has already befallen people in our besieged towns.
As for our suffering children, our medical staff here are demanding to know why, for 10 months, you have not supplied any vaccines. We know that these International Organisations supply these simple vaccines globally, even during peace time. We know that they distribute them on a regular basis to residents in the surrounding areas who live under terrorist rule. It seems that Mr de Mistura is not aware that thousands of children trapped in our towns are at risk of getting sick from diseases that could be prevented by these vaccines, that you have consistently failed to supply.
In addition to all of the above the UN continues to provide aid that is lacking specific categories of medicine, like antibiotics, cough, cold, diarrhoea, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergy drugs, dermal ointments and diapers. Thus exacerbating our original crisis resulting from the deprivation of diesel oil.
This fuel deprivation renders it impossible to access clean, safe water and subsequently leads to the inevitable spread of disease. Transportation of the sick and wounded to hospital is a slow process, especially those injuries arising from the daily escalation of Al Qaeda violations of the established ceasefire. Added to this are the sickness and deprivation caused by the cold weather, lack of fuel for warmth, the huge decline in agricultural production and the enforced consumption of the two towns stored resources because of the siege conditions.
May we remind you that the Syrian people are, above all, a resourceful and productive people. If you were to supply us with the fuel, that would be sufficient for many of our needs. We can even feed our neighbours from the wheat stores and the bounty from our own land. Currently our grain stockpiles are being consumed by mould as there is no way for us to grind and bake it. The UN even ignored our requests for preservatives to help us to conserve it more efficiently.
Lack of supplies for our radiography unit and diagnostic laboratory have closed these departments down completely.
The quality of foodstuff supplied is appalling. Much of it is decaying or stale. There is no diversity. We have no vegetables, fruit, meat, sugar, tea and coffee. These essential goods are not even included in the aid deliveries or in very low quantities. The milk that the people in Madaya complained about being in short supply, we can confirm that supplies have been non-existent to Kafarya and Foua for many months now except for scant supplies of powdered milk.
Thus, all of the above clearly demonstrates the determination of the staff of the United Nations notto deal with us as human beings that have requests and needs that should be respected. They only want to send us what overflows from the warehouses of second rate materials without regard to our needs.
As for our response; it will definitely be the continuation of resistance and attachment to our land and our homes. We are also determined to remain true to our cultural, religious and humanitarian identity, and to stand by our political choices. As for the representatives of the international community both individuals and organizations, they will continue to be responsible for the cynical aggravation of our suffering and in so doing, they ally themselves with the forces of darkness and terrorism against our oppressed civilians.
From the Specialist Hospital of AlFua, AlFua, Idlib, February 19, 2016
Today we also received a message from a relative of 10 year old Najeb Ahmad Hallak, shot through the heart by the Ahrar al Sham thugs surrounding al Foua and Kafarya. The message was very simple.
When we read of the UN’s apparent deliberate malpractice towards the besieged and marginalised villages of Kafarya and Foua, their actions and inactions exacerbating the humanitarian situation as opposed to improving it, we have to again question the UN’s neutrality in Syria.
Their claims that it is the Syrian government preventing deliveries of humanitarian aid must be doubted in the light of this report. Particularly when those claims are also denied by Dr Al Jaafari, permanent Syrian representative to the UN, who is adamant that, in the case of Madaya, it was the UN who had logistical problems that delayed their entry into Madaya.