Images of malnourished children and elderly from the Syrian town of Madaya gripped the world last week. A UN aid convoy finally reached the besieged town on Monday with officials describing “horrifying conditions” for the more than 40,000 people trapped there.
Madaya is one example of the depth of the humanitarian crisis facing the region. According to the UN there are at least 400,000 people living under siege in 15 towns across Syria. Doctors Without Borders estimate that 28 people have died of starvation in Madaya alone since the beginning of December 2015, with more than 250 people suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the use of starvation as a weapon in Syria was a war crime.
Mehdi Hasan speaks to Sarah Leah Whitson, one of the foremost experts in the region and the executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, about the use of starvation as a weapon of war.