"Crimes against humanity warranting prosecution of the guilty, not blame for the victims" - Franklin Lamb.
According to previous information, about 40 refugees at Yarmouk Camp had died during the past 3 months. Other sources have now put that number to at least 100. Furthermore, the number of Palestinian refugees held hostage at Yarmouk are over 17,000.
Still more tragically, it's not just Yarmouk. Blockades are all over Syrian neighborhoods where residents have no food, no medicines, no electricity and no clean drinking water.
According to most recent reports, 8 more civilians tramped in Yarmouk have died in the past one week. Their names have also been displayed in new outlets.
- 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi.
- 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi.
- 50-year-old woman named Noor.
- 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh.
- Two 19-year-olds - Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji were killed while protesting the blockade of the Camp.
- Mohammed Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Yunus Nofal - tortured and killed.
Quoting Franklin Lamb in his article 'Siege of Yarmouk:'
Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances ..you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut.
According to a report in Financial Times, speaking to a pro-government fighter who "mans a ragged frontline that has scarcely moved in the past year. On the other side is the rebel-held area of Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp that is also home to working-class Syrians, where the buildings are in ruins, filthy water gathers in the bomb-pitted roads and the civilians are starting to starve. The area has been encircled for several months, and Hisham, who cannot give his real name, can tell the rebels there are getting desperate."
Both sides are liable for prosecution for war crimes in such a situation as per international laws. So, who is to be blamed - the Syrian Government or the rebels? Obviously, since the rebels are using this evil strategy as a weapon of war, they are squarely the initiators of the crime. And what might happen if the Syrian Government lifts the siege? It will no doubt provide relief to those being held hostage in the Camp. But if siege is lifted without the terrorists surrendering to the Syrian Army, it would also allow many of the militants, now tramped by the Army, to slip away and access other targets close to Damascus. There are also no guarantees whether or not the terrorists will immediately leave the Camp if the siege is lifted or continue to hold its residents as human shields to negotiate new terms and conditions with the Syrian Government in their favor. Alternatively, if the Syrian Army closes in and storms the Camp to clear the militants, the civilian death toll would quite definitely rise three-fold or more. Not to mention, the selective nature of international laws that can change victims into criminals and the other way round with a twist through media propaganda.
To make a long story short, there seems no way out of this dreadful situation without continuing to hurt civilians, unless the militants grasp a shred of humanity and decide to surrender. Unfortunately that's very unlikely.
In every war, protecting the sovereignty of the land under attack takes first priority for its government. Letting the enemies go free along with their weapons after being cornered never happens in any war as it could result in paying a heavy price by the government of that land.
For eye opening details, read Franklin Lamb's article: