By Mohamed Misto
HOMS, Syria (AA) – A crippling siege imposed by regime forces on the northern countryside of Syria’s central Homs province is depriving around 250,000 civilians of vital commodities.
“Regime forces have shut all crossings and routes to the area,” Yasser al-Sayed Ali, a resident of al-Hawla district, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
“These restrictions have badly deteriorated all aspects of life in the area,” he said.
According to Syrian activists, regime forces prevent the access of humanitarian aid to Homs’ northern countryside, which deny around 250,000 civilians in opposition-held areas from getting their daily needs.
“Most commodities are not available at markets and their prices have skyrocketed,” Ali said, adding that prices of most commodities have gone up by about tenfold.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with disproportionate ferocity.
A UN estimate last year suggested that the population of Homs had shrunk from 2.1 million to 1.5 million. Many of those who fled the city are believed to have remained in rural areas nearby.
Abdul-Rahman al-Yassin, a local resident, said most people do not find enough foodstuffs.
“In most cases, we do not find food to eat like most residents in the area,” he told Anadolu Agency.
The regime blockade has also caused a deterioration in the health situation in the province’s northern countryside.
“There is a shortage of medicine in the area,” Sami, a medic at a field hospital who gave his first name only for security reasons, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the field hospital where he is working lacks all modern medical equipment.
“The hospital is also unable to accommodate the rising numbers of the wounded and [other] patients,” he added.