Civilians in one of Syria's most desperate cities have begun turning on local Islamist militants who they claim are monopolising food supplies, leaving locals with nothing.
The city of Douma, a suburb on the northeast outskirts of Damascus, has been under attack from the forces of President Bashar Assad's army since the civil war started. The city is home to a population of 100,000 as well as various rebels under the umbrella of the Islamic Front. The largest rebel group is Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) which has been known to operate with al-Nusra Front.
Douma is close to Ghouta, which has been attacked with chemical weapons by the Assad regime. Now the Syrian army have blocked the main road between Damascus and Douma meaning no humanitarian aid can reach the city.
Although Douma's warehouses are said to have large stockpiles of food locals are unable to access it because it is "reserved" for militant fighters. al-Monitor is reporting that the patience of locals has worn thin and they are demanding to be given access to the supplies.
On 14 November Ghouta's Unified Judicial Council issued a statement condemning the "monopolists" and traders and demanded food prices came down. Soon after, 15 members of the council were victims of a mass poisoning blamed on Jaish al-Islam.
On 15 November there was a protest in Douma against the local militants and traders seen to be in cahoots with them, which became known as "The Hunger Demonstrations."
"During the demonstrations, protesters stormed the warehouses of charities that are affiliated to Jaish al-Islam," one local, calling himself Omar, told al-Monitor via Skype.
"The guards fired on us directly, which prompted some protesters to fire back, leading to serious injuries among some residents. Jaish al-Islam has also arrested the leaders of some factions that helped us and stood by our side."
Douma is said to be riven by internecine strife between the various militants, who from some reports appear to be fighting one another even as the forces of Assad bear down on the city - and its suffering civilian population.