Qudsaya Siege
Qudsaya Siege: Syrian government has put the city under blockade cutting off all food supplies to the city from Damascus since 18 July. The image taken in May shows children at a school in Qudsaya eating energy bars distributed by the humanitarian agencies.Twitter/WFP

As the blockade around the Syrian city of Qudsaya entered its 44th day, a humanitarian agency has warned that the city would soon witness a catastrophe if the crisis is not addressed soon.  

Qudsaya, located on the western slope of Mount Qasioun, seven km west of Damascus, was put under siege by the Syrian army under President Bashar al-Assad in July after a Syrian soldier was kidnapped by the Free Syrian Army.

Qudsaya is under the control of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) militia that had agreed to support the Assad government and entered into a truce in 2012. However, recently, the truce ended after the FSA, backed by the Hezbollah, clashed with Assad forces in Zabadani (located 50 km from Damascus), The Daily Star reported.

A Syrian NGO, Jafra Foundation for Relief and Youth Development (JFRY), has now issued an urgent appeal to the international community to urge President Assad to allow humanitarian aid into the city.

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A volunteer with the Jafra Foundation, noted that since 18 July, all roads from Qudsaya to Damascus have been blocked and nobody is allowed to leave or enter the city.

The volunteer told IBTimes India the Syrian government was using Qudsaya as a bargaining chip to strike a deal with the FSA rebels in Zabadani. "Local councils in Qudsaya are complying with government demands, but still there has been no loosening of siege restrictions," the Jafra Staff based in Beirut said.

In a press statement, JFRY stated that the city currently houses 2,30,000 internally displaced people of whom 30,000 are Palestinians who fled from the Yarmouk Camp, Khan Eshieh Camp and other Palestinian camps following an Isis onslaught in April.

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The JFRY noted that the city is without food and necessary medical supplies since 25 July. And due to 20-hour long power outages, the residents are facing acute hardship. 

Several people remain separated from their family members because of the blockade, as those who left the city to get necessary supplies were not allowed to return on 19 July, the JFRY noted. The NGO has warned the situation in Qudsaya is grim and at least humanitarian agencies should to allowed inside.

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