7/4/1916 Allied blockade, Turkish confiscations and a plague of locusts bring famine to Syria and Lebanon

In Syria people are increasingly going hungry. A plague of locusts last year led to reduced harvests. The Turkish army has requisitioned much of what remains. The Allies are blockading the Syrian coast and the transport demands of the Turkish army mean that the ramshackle land routes are unable to bring enough food in to feed the people. Increasingly the people of Syria face the starvation, with hunger particularly acute in the Christian enclave of Mount Lebanon.

The Turkish authorities are not completely blind to their subjects’ sufferings. Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, has made representations to the Vatican’s envoy in Constantinople, requesting that the Pope ask the Allies to let ships through to bring food to the hungry people of the Levant. Enver promises that any food transported in this way will not go to his army. But the Allies are unrelenting. And so is Enver, who chooses to feed his army rather than his Lebanese and Syrian subjects.

image source (The National AE)

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