*** Madaya was downgraded from Tier 1 siege to Watchlist in April 2017 after the city capitulated to the pro-government 'surrender or die' campaign, and several thousand fighters and civilians were forcibly deported to Idlib governorate. The Baqeen area, which is an outlying suburb of Madaya, is considered as part of Madaya for reporting purposes. ***
Dates: July 2015 - April 2017
Siege classification: Watchlist
Besieged by: Syrian govt.
UN recognizedsiege?: Yes, Madaya was officially recognized by UN OCHA in January 2016 reporting.
Active Truce?: No. There was previously a 'Four Towns' that allowed for aid deliveries and medical evacuations in exchange for reciprocal measures in the opposition-controlled towns of Zabadani and Madaya in Rural Damascus, but this has broken down completely.
Population: Approximately 41,000 (as of 10/31/16)
Civil control: Madaya Local Council
Military control: Local armed groups
Siege-related deaths: Yes. In the first two weeks of November, at least four infants in Madaya died of malnutrition-related causes. Additionally, two kidney failure patients died due to the lack of dialysis treatments exacerbated by malnutrition.
Aid: One UN interagency aid convoy managed to reach Madaya and Zabadani during the reporting period on 25 September. A total of 49 aid trucks reached Madaya with supplies for 38,000 people, and four trucks reached Zabadani. The Madaya shipment included basic food supplies and non-essential medical items, but lacked necessary goods such as fuel, critical medical supplies, protein, baby milk, and salt (which is used as a preservative). Contacts reported that acute malnutrition once again became a major problem by early September.
Active Conflict: Yes.The number of civilian shootings by Hezbollah snipers increased during the reporting period. The snipers are stationed in buildings near the al-Asali checkpoint that overlooks the town. The snipers target anyone within range including civilians. In early August, a 9-year old girl was shot in the leg; the wound became infected and required medical evacuation. On 11 August, a 70- year old woman was shot and killed. Mourners at her funeral were later targeted by the snipers as well. There were also reports of Hezbollah forces burning land around Madaya to further isolate the town. In August, Hezbollah forces made an attempt to capture the water springs that feed Madaya and Zabadani. They were repelled by Ahrar al-Sham fighters, but an estimated five civilians were killed and seven were injured in the fighting. Periodic reports of Hezbollah forcibly displacing people who lived outside of the southern border of the besieged area of Madaya continue. For example, approximately 40 families were forcibly displaced and moved into besieged area of Madaya on 19 October.
Additional Details: Madaya is besieged by the Syrian government and its ally, Hezbollah. Current humanitarian conditions in Madaya are critical, and there is widespread severe malnutrition. International assistance is required to prevent catastrophe.
On 27 October, the only remaining medical point in Madaya announced that it was ceasing all activities due to lack of supplies. The following day a 10-year old boy named Mohammad al-Maleh fell off of a roof, reportedly after being startled by the sound of a sniper, and incurred a critical head injury. He later died when he could not be evacuated for treatment. There were approximately 27 kidney failure patients trapped in Madaya at the end of the reporting period that were unable to receive dialysis treatment due to the lack of supplies. In addition to malnutrition, highly contagious bacterial meningitis is widespread and there are no infant vaccines available. There were reports of several young people attempting suicide during the past quarter.
Several small evacuations were negotiated for severe medical cases from Madaya in return for evacuations from Fuaa. Three such medical evacuations occurred in August, for a total of 40 patients.16 One small evacuation of four meningitis patients occurred in early September, and another small evacuation of 8 people total took place from Madaya and Fuaa on 06 October. After this last medical evacuation, the “Four Towns Agreement” completely broke down and all negotiations ceased. Contacts were not clear on the reason for the suspension but made it clear that the Iranian intermediary had ended communications with the local negotiating committee.