Thousands in Syria camp 'slowly dying'

Gaunt figures fill the streets in the besieged Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk outside Damascus, where some 40,000 are said to be starving to death.

The United Nations distributed shocking images this week of thousands of people, their faces emaciated, desperately flocking to receive food aid that only a few were lucky enough to collect.

"We live in a big prison," said Mr Rami al-Sayed, a Syrian activist living in Yarmuk, speaking to AFP via the Internet.

"But at least, in a prison, you have food. Here, there's nothing. We are slowly dying."

He said: "Sometimes, crowds of children stop me on the streets, begging me: 'For the love of God, we want to eat, give us food.' But of course, I have no food to give them."

After months of shelling and fierce fighting in and around Yarmuk between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's troops, the camp's population has shrunk from more than 150,000 to 40,000. Among them are 18,000 Palestinians.

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