Mar. 2 - Syrians brave harsh weather and risk sniper fire in search of bread, queuing outside the only bakery still operating that is accessible to residents in the town of al-Qusair. Nick Rowlands reports.
Residents of the Syrian town of al-Qusair, near the Lebanese border, brave sleet and chilly winds to queue for bread. The bakery is the only one left in town that residents can regularly access, and is only open for two hours in the morning. Production is limited, and depends on flour smuggled across the border from Lebanon. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING: "This bakery here is the only one making bread. If I come to this bakery and say I want 10 pieces of bread, they will just give me five pieces. Why? The amount of flour they have is limited, they can't give everyone 10 pieces. There's no one that can take more than five pieces of bread. A lot of people have left, more than half the residents have left, and there still isn't enough bread." The main bakery in town is often closed, and residents must risk sniper fire from government-held positions in the centre of town if they try to go there. Last month the International Committee of the Red Cross said Syrians living in conflict areas are struggling to find basic foodstuffs. Residents of al-Qusair say they are also struggling to find fuel - a real problem in this harsh weather. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING: "The other thing is the diesel -- children need to keep warm. We can't live under these jackets. What will these children do? Bashar al-Assad put the petrol and diesel in his tanks, he isn't giving it to the citizens." The U.N. has condemned the government of President Bashar al-Assad for violations it said may amount to crimes against humanity. It voiced strong concern at the deteriorating humanitarian situation and called for food, medicines, and fuel to reach besieged populations. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.