A month after a sarin gas attack in Moadhamiya outside Damascus, Syrian officials have blocked aid workers from getting food and medical supplies into the town, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some 12,000 residents, including some rebel fighters, have been forced to forage, picking olives, vine leaves, figs, and mint to survive, while the Syrian Red Crescent’s disaster response unit says aid trucks have been turned away seven times by military checkpoints. Says one pro-regime fighter: "We won't allow them to be nourished in order to kill us. Let them starve for a bit, surrender, and then be put on trial."
With food and water scarce, one man faced sniper fire to get a bag of wheat for his family in a nearby town, a friend said, adding "People are going to starve to death." At least three women and four children have died from malnutrition in Moadhamiya this year, and another 700 people have been killed, opposition groups claim. "The international community needs a slap on the face to wake up," the head of SRC's aid unit told the Journal, arguing that other countries are more concerned with the use of chemical weapons than their effects on the Syrian people. "If they claim to be working for the well-being of the Syrian people, then help us get in." The UN urged Syria yesterday to allow aid "across conflict lines," Al Jazeera reports.