BEIRUT – The U.N.'s top human rights official is calling the Syrian government's siege of the capital's suburbs "an outrage" and says food and medical supplies must be allowed to reach civilians inside.
Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said Friday in a statement that residents of the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus are facing a "humanitarian emergency" despite a truce negotiated in April to facilitate relief.
He called images circulating of severely malnourished Ghouta children "shocking."
The Syrian government routinely blocks the U.N. from delivering emergency aid. The U.N. was last able to reach Eastern Ghouta a month ago, carrying supplies for only 25,000 people out of an estimated 350,000 in need.
Residents survive on smuggled goods, paying extortion prices to warlords and local traders. Activists say two children have died of starvation in the last two months.