Genocidal Siege of Moa’damiyet al-Sham since 18-11-2012

24 September 2013

  • The tight siege on the city along with killing and destruction has continues for 278 days.

  • People have been killed by firepower, chemical weapons and recently even starvation and the death toll has exceeded 700 in addition to daily injuries.

  • Markets have been fully closed and sales completely suspended due to lack of basic goods.

  • Infrastructure and residential areas have been massively destroyed (50% of residential buildings and 90% of administrative buildings).

  • Communication and power networks have been completely disabled due to bombardment.

  • All hospitals are dysfunctional due to bombardment as doctor to resident ratio has dropped to 1:2400

  • All schools (22 in total) have been rendered dysfunctional due to the shelling.

  • All mosques (11 in total) have been rendered dysfunctional due to the destruction caused by the shelling.



  • Moua’adamiyet al-Sham today

  • Living conditions

  • Security conditions

  • Medical situation

  • Educational conditions

  • Footage and images

Moua’adamiyet al-Sham Today

More than 12 thousand people continue to suffer from the genocidal siege imposed by the Assad army on Moua’adamiyet al-Sham since 18 November 2012. The siege has been imposed by surrounding the city with heavy military machinery behind sand barricades, protected by troops and sniper fire and reinforced by artillery. Thus, the city is sealed off and not a soul is allowed to move out unless by ascending to the heavens through the skies which are often occupied by Mig fighters to tighten the siege and induce more destruction. The siege is not only meant to block the movement of food and water but to chase away all manifestations of life within the city, its vicinity, orchards, houses, streets, hospitals, schools, mosques, even in the darkness of basements and emergency shelters: everywhere.

Moua’damiya, or Moua’adamiyet al-Sham, is one of the cities of Western Ghouta in Damascus Suburbs. It lies 12 kilometers to the west of Damascus city center. To the south of the city lies the besieged city of Darayya and to the north lies Somariya (predominantly Alawite area) and Moua’adamiya mountains. Olive farms separate Moua’adamiya from Jdaydet Artouz to the west. The population of the city in 2010 was around 60 thousand strong. Trade constitutes the main source of income and the city is known for olive farming. During the Syrian revolution, the city has been scene of many massacres and brutalities which are tantamount to war crimes. The current siege and continued and fierce shelling constitute a turning point for the city which has never before witnessed such continuous and systematic destruction.


Living Conditions

Markets 100% Dysfunctional

Basic goods such as bread, meat, and oil are completely nonexistent and markets have been closed down even earlier because of the continued daily bombardment.

Water Supply 100% Blocked

Water supply network has been rendered completely dysfunctional as water supply to the city has been blocked since the beginning of the siege which forced residents to depend completely on wells available in their houses.


Power Network 100% Dysfunctional

Apart from the eastern quarter which is pro-Assad, power has been completely cut off the city since the beginning of the campaign. The power network has also been massively damaged by daily bombardment.


Landlines have been dysfunctional for months and mobile phone coverage is not available is large areas due to the shelling of signal towers.


Gas stations have stopped operating even before the siege started. Fuel used to be smuggled into the city. With the tight siege, however, fuel supply has been completely blocked. Residents depend on available stocks and use them very economically to operate generators for medical centers, water pumps, media centers or other vital facilities.

Food Crisis

Firewood is being used for cooking if any food stuff is available at all. Flour as well as milk and children food supplied through declared paths have been unavailable for 10 months. As the siege continued and the local routes were exposed, movement from and into the city grew harder leading to unprecedented deterioration of food availability. Moreover, the stock of basic medications started to run out complicating the humanitarian disaster and malnutrition. As children grew physically too vulnerable, regular illnesses have become potentially life-threatening.

Ahmad, 33, is one of the besieged civilians in Moa’adamiya and he described the living conditions by saying:

“People often ground all sorts of available legumes including chickpeas, broad beans, and rice to make bread which would be as dry as wood but then even those materials are no longer available.”

Residents have been dependent on figs and grapes for three months now. The figs season is now over and soon, grapes would also run out. The city is currently witnessing a food crisis and a huge humanitarian disaster particularly that many farms have been burned due to shelling. Some people eat only once in 2 or 3 days and then only by cooking edible and non-edible grass which grows randomly in the area. “Once put in the pan, everything is edible,” Ahmad says.

The number of victims who died of malnutrition, starvation and lack of basic nutrients –particularly vitamins- so far is 4 children and 2 women.

in the photo :

-        the child Ibrahim al-khalil died in 31\08\2013

-        the child Ammar Arafa      died in 31\08\2013

-        the child Imad Sawan         died in 04\09\2013

-        the child Rana Abead         died in 24\09\2013


  • Footage showing the residents’ suffering due to food shortage and cooking grass:

Security Conditions

Military Siege

The siege is tightened by the presence of military troops and machinery on all four directions along with 20 checkpoints manned by fourth brigade and air force intelligence personnel on the city’s outlets and main roads. These checkpoints are supported by T72 and T82 tanks as well as Shilka vehicles and artillery in areas outlooking the city.

  • To the west: there are officers housing areas affiliated to the regular army, Saraya al-Sera’ Battalions affiliated to Adnan al-Assad and Yousef al-Azmeh barracks and housing affiliated to the army as well.

  • To the north: there are three regiments affiliated to the fourth brigade and police housing to the north west of the city.

  • To the east: there is Mazzeh military airport.

  • To the south: there is a camp to the south east of the city affiliated to a pro-Assad Palestinian organization.



The daily scene in Moa’adamiya is no different from other besieged areas in Damascus and Damascus Suburbs. Besieged areas become scene for the use of all sorts of firepower from light or heavy weapons, land or aerial bombardment. Shelling can be described as follows:

  • It continues day and night and varies in intensity sometimes reaching 30 shells a minute.

  • Shelling comes mainly from Mazzeh military airport and Moua’adamiya mountains where the fourth brigade is based.

  • Shelling particularly targets administrative buildings (public services) so much so that it has affected all schools, mosques and hospitals.

  • Shelling also directly targets civilians rather than just FSA fighters who block the advance of Assad army into the city. This systematic targeting is clear because of the concentrated artillery and aerial shelling on the city center which is the most densely populated area. Shelling sometimes even hits shelters and basements. This shelling strategy is consistent with the starvation policy which prevents milk for children from getting into the city let alone food stuff for adults. In furtherance of this policy, olive orchards are also burned down.

  • There are more than 30 clash points at the outskirts of the city. The city center witnesses no clashes because it is under FSA control.

  • Last month witnessed unprecedented escalation in the type of weapons used as chemical weapons were used on August 21st. On the following day, 12 land-land missiles were used and have been constantly used in shelling the area since the use of chemical weapons.

  • There are victims who are killed by the shelling on a daily basis in addition to the horrifying massacres such as:


Video document the  Massacre

Number of victims in  


Method of committing the Massacre

Massacre  Date

13 victims

Fierce shelling and field excutions


21 victims

Shelling by warplanes


13 victims

Shelling by warplanes


11 victims

Fierce shelling targeted different areas in Moadamiyeh


64 victims

Targeting Moadamiyeh with Chemicals



22 victims

Result of the fierce shelling with warplanes and rockets that followed the chemical strike





the massacre: is a killing event which resulted in the death of 10 civilians at least


-          Footage showing the sounds of clashes:



Medical Conditions:


Medical Staff and Centers:


All official hospitals, infirmaries and medical centers have been subject to violent shelling which rendered them dysfunctional. There are currently two locally operated and built medical centers: one for surgeries and the other for emergency, first aid and recovery. There are only five doctors and 35-40 paramedics mostly non-professionals who have been trained and qualified within the city due to the great shortage of medical staff and the daily injuries.




Equipment and Medications


Available medical equipment is generally very simple with no quality instruments because each time regime forces stormed the city before the beginning of the siege, they destroyed everything in newly-established makeshift hospitals. Since the beginning of the siege, it hasn’t been possible to bring in any replacements. So much so that some disposable equipment is actually being sterilized and reused.


As far as medication is concerned, there is dire shortage which forces doctors to prescribe pain killers and reserve antibiotics to very serious cases and then give them only one bill when absolutely needed.


At some points during the siege, medical staff had to use paper tape, typically used in painting workshops, instead of bandages for open wounds.


Live testimony and the Red Cross failure to arrive


Abu Samer one of the doctors in Moadamiyeh described to us a side of the medical situation saying: “unfortunately we have now a severe need to food in Moadamiyeh and a total loss of basic medications and emergency equipment such as Serums and blood bags, children milk is completely missed as well and also a lot of medical equipment, and we are trying to fill this shortage as possible as we can”.


Regarding the people who died due to the disability of curing their medical situations because of the siege Abu Samer says: “The city is under ongoing shelling, that’s why the amount of our work is huge due to the continuous injuries, in addition to the shortage in food supplies, the cases of malnutrition victims are seven till now and it is expected to increase, and the siege on the city forbidding any food or medications to come in, a while ago the Red Cross tried to come in and reach us but failed, we became sure that there is a global collusion against us, the shining ringing logos such as human rights and child rights and others shows that they are only ink on papers not more than that”.


And when he was asked about the type of essential medical needs required he answered:


“Symptoms of severe malnutrition that appear on infected:


  • The absence of a gradual fat and adipose tissue

  • Shortage in Vitamins.

  • Anemia

  • Marasmus situation (in this case we can’t do anything for the child, we watch him die not able to do anything because of the shortage in supplies and medications)

If we have milk for the children and medication we would have saved a lot of them.

Regarding the victims who got wounded then their wounds got worse and then led to their death, I have three documented cases, they got wounded due to the shelling and went under multiple surgeries, but because the loss of Protein and Albumin they entered a coma, then they suffered lack of electrolytes and blood proteins and aggravate it to severe slimness and weakened immune resistance and then death”.

-          medical diagnosis for the child Rana Obaid a day before her death


-          Footage showing an injured child in a medical center:

Educational Conditions

The total number of schools in the city is 22 all of which have been closed during the ongoing war including 15 schools which have been subject to destructive artillery and rocket shelling. Some schools are more than 90% destroyed after being targeted with artillery and rockets.

More than 170 children have been killed more than 80% of which were students.

The educational process has been undermined even before the siege. The city was scene for many confrontations which reflected badly on education and deprived most of the city’s children from finishing their academic year. With the start of the genocidal siege, the educational process has been completely paralyzed and the city’s children were deprived of another academic year.  As the beginning of the new academic year approaches this year (around 15 September), the city witnessed no signs of a new academic year which indicates that children in this city may miss a third academic year as they lack any sense of peace and stability in shelters let alone homes.


As formal education has been suspended, some women in the city tried to use mosques for some educational activities in order to help children overcome their mental and psychological hardships. Shelling, however, rendered most mosques unsuitable for educational purposes or prayer. One of the city’s mosques has been completely destroyed and the rest have been largely damaged.

Shelling has also targeted minarets in particular. There are only two minarets left in the city, One of them is on the verge of collapse and the other is massively damaged but it is still standing because of surrounding buildings which serve to protect it.




-          Footage of the destruction in Omar Ibn al-Khattab mosque:




Footage and Images :





Belal mosque after targeting it by shelling>

Fire ignition in one of Moadamia Orchards because of the shelling


-          Video: One of the kids from Moadamiyeh witnessed the general situation in it.

-          Video: a child from Moadamiyeh complain about the lack of food to eat.

-          Video: One of Moadamiyeh civilian's sent a message to the world to save the rest of the Syrian people.

-          Video: Smoke rising from Civilians' houses due to shelling it with Land-to-Land rocket.

-          Video: The fierce shelling targeting Moadamiyeh

-          Video: The fierce artillery shelling from the fourth division targeting Moadamiyet al-Sham


-          Video: A report by Al Jazeera Channel about the siege imposed on Damascus suburbs, their harsh living circumstances, and the lack of nutritional materials like flour and baby formula.
Due to that, 6 children died from hunger. The international silence about what the regime is committing in Syria, its brutality, and imposed siege will lead to a great humanitarian disaster





Collecting and Editing

-          Salih Allouh

-          Nuur Bitar

Thursday, 25.September 2013

Syrian Center for Statistics and Research