If there could ever be a sliver of understanding as to how extremists could fill their rolls with recruits from among Syria's displaced people, then it could be found in the sights of the human decay through starvation by the Syrian regime upon the besieged people of Madaya, Syria.
For as United Nations(UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described it, his teams that only entered Madaya on Monday with relief food and medicines, are witnessing "scenes that haunt the soul".
Reported by Reuters yesterday, the UN's chief diplomat described life in Madaya, which had been besieged by Bashar al Assad's regime for more then six months, as having: "The elderly and children, men and women, who were little more than skin and bones: gaunt, severely malnourished, so weak they could barely walk, and utterly desperate for the slightest morsel."
Ban Ki-moon condemned all the parties fighting in Syria for atrocities against civilians. "All sides - including the Syrian government, which has primary responsibility to protect Syrians - are committing atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law," he judged. He added as cited by Reuters: that the harrowing images of starving civilians in Madaya reflected a new low in a war that had already reached "shocking depths of inhumanity."
The UN Chief declared:"...the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime." He said the situation involving the besieged town of Madaya was even worse than being held hostage during war because "hostages get fed", and from the evidence in Madaya, people were being starved to death with at least 400 men, women and children in a dire state from malnutrition and other conditions that they needed immediate medical attention and possible evacuation.
Sadly, what the UN is now affirming in places such as Madaya, Syria, is the same thing that has been used skillfully by extremists to swell their ranks with Syria's displaced people. The actions of Bashar al Assad's government and its continuance in the Levant remain the biggest factors attributing to the rise and the spread of violent extremism in the Middle East and stretching to Europe, Africa and the Americas.