Syria: starvation threat seen in Daraa siege

The siege imposed by Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad enclave since June could lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement. Russian-backed regime forces are trying to get remnant rebel fighters in the district of Daraa city to surrender their light weapons, and accede to installation of military checkpoints—demands that violate terms of the 2018 ceasefire in Daraa. The statement urgently called for lifting the siege and allowing entry of humanitarian aid, noting that shipments from the World Food Program have been barred entry. It also stressed that all roads to hospitals in government-controlled Daraa are cut off by regime troops, leaving district residents without access to medical facilities, except for a single insufficient clinic within the encircled area. Food, medicines and other basic materials are running low, threatening 40,000 residents with starvation. (Map: Wikimedia Commons)

Razia Sultana


Nearly four years after the Burmese army’s genocidal attack, more than a million Rohingya remain in overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh. Repatriation efforts have failed, as the Rohingya don’t feel safe returning to their homeland. A large percentage of Rohingya women and girls living in the camps have suffered sexual violence at the hands of the Burmese army, witnessed the death of loved ones, or been victims of domestic violence. Razia Sultana, a Rohingya lawyer and educator, has documented these crimes and is organizing advocacy and empowerment programs for survivors in the camps. In a phone interview with CounterVortex correspondent Andy Heintz, she speaks about the prospects for building unity with Burma’s other persecuted minority peoples—and even with the ethnic Burman majority now also facing harsh repression since this year’s military coup.