"Dying in slow motion": Videos show horror of Syrian town's starvation

Disturbing new evidence of the barbarity of Syria's civil war, now nearly five years old, has emerged on social media.

Not far from the capital, the town of Madaya is being starved by the dictator's forces. Men, women and children are "dying in slow motion," as one resident put it. Months of deprivation have pushed the smallest and the poorest to the very brink.

A child is fed water flavored with jam

A mother feeds her child what looks like broth, but is actually water flavored with jam.

In an online appeal, a man explains "we have no food, no water and no power," then bursts into tears. "Please world," he begs. "We are dying."

Activists say the most wretched are making soup with grass, and some have already died of starvation.

This is all happening just 30 miles from Damascus, Syria's capital, in an area that used to be fertile with farms and orchards.

CBS News traveled to Madaya in 2012 when it was still safe enough to visit the rebels who control the area. Now the rebels and more than 40,000 residents are trapped, surrounded by Syrian government forces who have sealed off all the roads.

A Syrian man begs for help in a video posted by activists

A video posted by activists shows residents begging the government soldiers to let food supplies in. The last aid convoy they allowed to pass was back in October.

But suddenly Thursday, after the pictures of the starving people caused international outrage, the Assad government announced it will allow a humanitarian convoy into Madaya, probably this weekend.

  • Elizabeth Palmer

    Elizabeth Palmer has been a CBS News correspondent since August 2000. She has been based in London since late 2003, after having been based in Moscow (2000-03). Palmer reports primarily for the "CBS Evening News."