Starvation as Siege Tactics: Urban Warfare in Syria

Nils Hägerdal

Famine is on the rise across conflict zones worldwide. Yet in Syria – unlike other contemporary wars – the phenomenon is concentrated in urban areas, and intensified significantly after 2015. To explain these outcomes I delve into the nature of urban warfare. Urban combat operations favor the defender, and many military organizations resort to siege warfare to conquer urban territory; starvation remains a powerful siege tactic. Qualitative evidence on all sieges conducted inside Syria, where a majority of the prewar population lived in urban areas, shows how its regime forces constitute a prime example of this process. READ MORE

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