Civic Bodies & NGOs in Wadi Barada Signal Alarm as Regime & Allies Mass Troops to Attack the Area

Civic institutions and NGOs in Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus appealed to the international community and the United Nations to take urgent action to save the lives of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the area.

In a statement released on Saturday, the civic institutions and NGOs in Wadi Barada valley warned against the possibility of massacres against civilians should regime forces and their allied Iranian-backed militias storm the area which has been subjected to constant aerial and artillery bombardment in recent days.

Local activists said that the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias are massing troops near the village of Ashrafiya on the outskirts of the valley in preparation for a large-scale ground attack on the rebel-held of villages of the valley. The regime build-up comes with intense bombardment by heavy artillery and barrel bombs despite the Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire which took effect on Thursday.

Two barrel bombs and four airstrikes by regime jets hit the valley in the early hours of Saturday, while regime forces and the Hezbollah militia continue to pound the area with heavy artillery. The bombardment has caused complete power outage since it began last week, further increasing the suffering of civilians trapped inside the area. Regime forces have also been blocking the entry of food and medical supplies to the area for over a week.

The statement said that nearly five million people in Damascus and its countryside are facing a threat of water being cut off after regime jets bombed Ayn Alfija water pumping station, putting it out of service. The civic institutions and NGOs said they were ready to allow maintenance teams into the area to repair the facility once the regime bombardment stopped.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 31.12.2016)

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