For the first time in two years, protests broke out Nov.15 in the rebel-held stronghold of Douma, 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) northeast of Damascus. Yet, this time the demonstrations weren’t held against the Syrian regime, but against Jaish al-Islam and the traders collaborating with it. The protests have been dubbed “The Hunger Demonstrations.”

Douma has been besieged by the Syrian army for a year and has since been under constant shelling. The suburb’s residents have consumed all their means of sustenance. The Syrian army checkpoint at al-Wafideen refugee camp on the Damascus-Douma road is preventing the entry of all humanitarian aid to the city, which has had adverse effects on citizens, especially since warlords and armed groups have taken control of supply stores.


The protests broke out as a reaction to the traders’ monopoly on food while the suburb is plagued with hunger and the traders’ warehouses are filled with all necessary goods. They refuse to sell any items before meeting the needs of fighters, according to Omar, one of the protesters who only revealed his first name for his personal safety. […]