Nightly News   |  February 03, 2014

Syria’s Newest Threat: Starvation

Thousands of trapped Syrian civilians are desperate for food, another indication of rapidly deteriorating conditions.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> overseas tonight, in the war in syria , growing indications that the situation is deteriorating rapidly. peace talks ended after going nowhere . the white house and congress can't really agree on what to do. even the head of al qaeda has split with its own faction. the death toll estimated at way past 100,000 keeps climbing. the u.n. has stopped counting. for many syrians, life has become a nightmare. our report tonight from nbc's bill neely .

>> reporter: beneath the deadly, daily bombing, amidst the smoke and debris of rebel-held suburbs, thousands of trapped civilians now face a new threat. a different kind of fight for survival. they are picking weeds to eat, to stay alive. there is no more wheat. there is no more food this man says. i'm picking greens so i can eat. this video was shot by nbc news. other video filmed by residents shows similar scenes we can't independently verify. the u.n. is warning of starvation. another man with four children shows the greens he found to feed his family. some children fend for themselves. short lives blighted by a long war. i haven't eaton meen meet or fish in two years. i've eaten only olives for the last two days. i want cookies and milk. they all do. everything is scarce here except suffering. they live in syria 's third largest city, the heart of the initial revolution, some of it now a ghost town . one besieged sub besh, of the capital, damascus, did get some aide, 1,000 food parcels and a long-forgotten taste for the children. the food will last just ten days. a war that's deadlocked. a war i've seen firsthand in holmes. the bombardment, the war here is as intense as ever. it is not just food that is hard to find. it is having the wood to cook it with. peace talks have failed to relieve the suffering here. two warring sides digging their heels in. civilians digging to survive. the innocent, the most vulnerable are paying the price for a war that no one seems willing or able to end.

>> a terrible situation and worsening. now, the fears are among a lot of american intelligence officials it could blow back on to our shores and our friends overseas.

>> there are worries. every time you think the war in syria can't get any worse, it usually does. every time the outside world pushes for help and hope for those people, it's extinguished. the peace talks have been suspended. no guarantee they will review next week. no relief in sight for those besieged people. i should say bill neely has been contributing with us as part of our british partner network. now, we have him. he is going to be covering the globe as part of our team. great to have you.