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Archbishop warns of starvation in besieged Syrian city

Residents of Deir al-Zor have been trapped by Islamic State militants, cut off from aid

Published: January 28, 2016 04:12 AM GMT
Archbishop warns of starvation in besieged Syrian city

At least 120,000 Syrian civilians are starving in the Islamic State group-beseiged city of Deir al-Zor, warned Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Hindo of Hassakeh.

"For over a year, ever since they lost seats and a strategic part of the city areas, jihadists have intensified the siege, by not bringing food. The few products that are still found — tomatoes, canned sardines, some tea — are sold on the black market with prices more than tenfold," Archbishop Hindo told Fides, information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

On Jan. 17, Islamic State fighters attacked areas of the city killing at least 300 civilians and deporting hundreds more.

On Jan. 16, the United Nations said there were unverified reports of about 15-20 starvation deaths in Deir al-Zor, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The U.N. also said there were severe food shortages in the city.

Deir al-Zor, 500 kilometers northeast of Damascus, is the most populous of about 15 besieged areas in Syria, where about 450,000 people are trapped and cut off from aid by the government, by Islamic State and other insurgent groups involved in the country's civil war, the Herald said.

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