Media Office in Wadi Barada Valley Denies Regime’s Claims about Halt to Bombing

The media office in Wadi Barada valley in Rural Damascus denied claims by regime forces and the Hezbollah militia that they stopped bombing the area. Local activists said that three civilians were killed and dozens more injured in bombardment by regime forces and the Hezbollah militias on the villages of Ayn Alfija and Bseima late on Friday.

“Claims made by the Hezbollah militias about reaching a cease-fire in Wadi Barada valley and that a delegation of Russian officers entered the area to negotiate with the FSA fighters are untrue,” the media office said on Friday.

Regime forces and the Hezbollah militias have escalated the assault on Wadi Barada valley 15 kilometers northwest of the capital Damascus despite the cease-fire which went into force on December 29.

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Badr Jamous called upon the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Wadi Barada valley to investigate the crimes being committed against civilians. He said that the Assad regime is using water as a weapon of war against the Syrian people after it bombed the Ayn Alfija water facility.

Local activists said that residents in the area, especially children and those with weakened immune system, have shown signs of poisoning and allergic rashes after drinking contaminated water. The Ayn Alfija water facility was put out of service when regime forces bombed it 16 days ago.

Jan Egeland, head of the UN-backed humanitarian task force for Syria, said on Thursday the shutdown of water already had “dramatic” consequences. He noted that water supplies to 5.5 million people have been hit “because of fighting, or because of sabotage or because of both.”

“To sabotage and deny water is of course a war crime, because it is civilians who drink it and civilians who will be affected by waterborne diseases” if supplies are not restored, Egeland told reporters in Geneva.

Residents of Wadi Barada valley said that the military assault on the area is aimed at forcing them out of their homes, a tactic the Assad regime has used in other areas around Damascus.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 07.01.2017)

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