Civic groups and bodies in the Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus declared the valley a disaster area as the assault by the regime forces and the Hezbollah militias entered its 34th day on Wednesday. The rebel-held villages in the valley are being subjected to intense bombardment and siege despite pledges made during the Astana meeting to bolster the ceasefire.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the civic groups and activists issued a plea to save the lives of over 80,000 civilians trapped in the Wadi Barada valley. Over 200 people, including many women and children, have been killed since the start of the regime’s and allies’ onslaught on the area over a month ago. The bombardment has left more than 400 people injured, including 150 who are in need of urgent medical evacuation. All hospitals and medical centers in the area have been put out of service after being directly targeted by the Assad regime forces and the Hezbollah militia.
Water, electricity, and communications in the Wadi Barada valley have been cut off for over a month, while pharmacies and medical centers suffer severe shortages of medicines, especially medications for heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and arterial diseases. Regime forces continue to prevent civilians who need urgent medical treatment from leaving the area and target those who try to leave with heavy machine guns and sniper fire.
Activists in the Wadi Barada valley on Wednesday said that regime forces pounded the village of Ayn Alfija with barrel bombs, explosive cylinders, rockets, heavy artillery, and heavy mortar shells. The FSA and rebel groups repelled repeated attempts by regime forces and their allied militias to advance on the village.
According to figures compiled by the Syrian Coalition’s media office, regime forces and their allies have violated the truce over 950 times across Syria since it was announced on December 29, 2016. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)