Civil institutions in the Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus called upon the international community to take immediate action and assume its responsibilities to protect civilians in the area. The institutions called for urgent intervention to save what remained of the Ayn Alfija water pumping station. The station provides drinking water to more than six million people in the capital Damascus and its countryside.
In a statement released on Monday, the civic institutions in Wadi Barada valley called for ratcheting up pressure on the Assad regime’s allies to stop the barbaric onslaught on the area.
The Wadi Barada valley has been subjected to heavy bombardment with dozens of barrel bombs, rockets, and artillery shells for the fifth consecutive day. The bombardment left scores of civilians killed and injured and put hospitals and civilian institutions out of service. The bombing also caused severe damage to the pumps inside the Ayn Alfiha water pumping station, leaving the station barely functioning.
Local activists said that the Assad regime and the allied Hezbollah militia are seeking to force the local population in Wadi Barada out of their homes as the area is located between regime-held territory northwest of Damascus and the Hezbollah stronghold of Baalbek in southeastern Lebanon. The capture of Wadi Barada valley will allow the Assad regime and the Hezbollah militia to connect these two areas.
The civil institutions stressed their rejection of any form of mass forced displacement of the population of Wadi Barada valley. The onslaught on the area is a continuation of the policies the Assad regime pursues to change the demography of key areas across Syria, especially in Damascus and its countryside, they said.
The civil institutions stressed the need to reach an agreement that ensures the safety of civilians in the area and allows the maintenance and repair of the water pumping station which they stressed should be operated and managed by the local population.
Wadi Barada valley contains 13 villages, nine of which are under the control of the FSA and rebel groups. The valley is surrounded by a range of hills on top of which regime forces and the Hezbollah militias are stationed. The area, home to about 100,000 people, have been under suffocating siege for over three years. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)