Dates: Besieged since May 2012
Siege classification: Tier 3
Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognizes siege?: No
Active Truce?: No
Current population: 83,000 (as of 06/31/16), pre-war population was 125,000
Civil control: Houleh Unified Local Council (includes 4 sub-councils)
Military control: Ahrar al-Sham and FSA-affiliated groups
Siege-related deaths: Information unavailable
Aid: Al-Houleh received two UN interagency humanitarian aid shipments during the reporting period: on 31 August a 26-truck convoy entered with basic food supplies, school supplies, and one truck containing medication. It received an additional aid convoy on 24 October.
Active conflict: Yes. Airstrikes by Syrian and Russian jets along with shelling by pro-government militias caused civilian casualties throughout the August-October. For example, in the middle of the night on 1 October, airstrikes hit a residential area in the town of Kafarlaha, injuring seven civilians. The single remaining dirt road that connects al-Houleh to the al-Rastan and Talbiseh pockets was frequently targeted by pro-government forces in surrounding villages – especially from the Kafrnan checkpoint – leading to frequent road closures.
Additional Details: The Houleh region is a broad plain with an area of about 65,000 hectares of agricultural plains and many small villages that is Besieged by a combination of regime checkpoints and pro-regime villages. It includes a few villages (Talaf and Akrab) in southern Hama governorate. To smuggle supplies in from Ar-Rastan area people have to pass close by regime villages like Kafr Nan and are often killed.
During the August-October reporting period, several people were allowed to cross the checkpoint to exit the besieged area near Dar al-Kabira and were reportedly arrested by government forces. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
The area is in desperate need of medical supplies, and people with illnesses such as cancer continued to die during the reporting period, without the ability to access treatment. Notably, in mid-September there were protests in al-Houleh against forced displacement.