Wadi Barada Villages Being Reduced to Rubble as Assault Enters Its 23rd Day

The towns and villages of Wadi Barada valley are lying in ruins as the assault by the Assad regime forces and the Hezbollah Militia entered its 23rd day on Wednesday. The bombardment has been concentrated on residential buildings and vital civilian facilities amid utter silence by the UN Security Council and Russia, a guarantor of the ceasefire agreement.

Local activists said that the village of Bsseima bore the brunt of indiscriminate bombardment by the regime and Hezbollah militias, with over 65% of the village now reduced to rubble. Over 40% of the town of Ayn Alfija has been destroyed, and the villages of Deir Miqrin and Kfeir Alzeit were severely damaged by regime bombardment by rockets, heavy artillery, mortar and tanks.

Vital civilian structures in Wadi Barada valley, such as medical centers, civil defense centers, and the media office were put out of service as a result of the deliberate targeting by regime forces and their allied foreign militias, activists said. The bombardment did not spare the ancient Roman temple at the water facility. Moreover, five mosques were completely destroyed, including two in the village of Bseima, two in Kfeir Alzeit, and one in the village of Husseiniya.

The Ayn Alfija water facility was hit by regime forces in the early days of the assault, now in its 23rd day. The facility, which is the primary source of clean water for Damascus and its suburbs, has been put out of service, and the equipment inside has been severely damaged.

Medical sources in Wadi Barada valley said that many people were affected as a result of drinking infected water as chlorination equipment is no longer operating.

The Syrian Coalition earlier called upon the United Nations to send a fact-finding mission to Wadi Barada valley to investigate the crimes being committed against civilians. It said that the Assad regime is using water as a weapon of war against the Syrian people after bombing the Ayn Alfija water facility.

The United Nations Children’s Fund has raised alarm over a potential increase in diarrheal diseases among people, especially children, in the areas around Damascus due to lack of clean water.

A UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac on Monday said that private distributors were providing water in and around Damascus. Boulierac said he was worried about the quality and price of those supplies.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 12.01.2017)

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