The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that the Assad regime is using water as a weapon against the Syrian people.
Andreas Knapp, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene with UNICEF Syria, said that certain areas in Syria have been deprived of clean water because of the destruction of water pipes and pumps. The Austrian national said that UNICEF recorded at least 30 deliberate water cuts in 2016.
Speaking from the German city of Cologne on Thursday, Knapp said that civilians in Syria are suffering a lot this summer, adding that 70 percent of the population across Syria have no access to clean water. Civilians cannot boil water because of the scarcity of fuel, Knapp added.
The Ayn Alfija water facility northwest of Damascus offers a stark example of the Assad regime’s use of water as a weapon of warfare against the Syrian people. The facility is the main source of water for the capital Damascus and its suburbs. In December 2016, the Assad and its allies bombed the facility, leaving about 5.5 million people without drinking water for more than a month.
The Assad regime’s bombing campaign on the area also resulted in the destruction of half of the equipment and fuel depots inside the facility. Airstrikes also hit chlorine depots which is used to disinfect water, causing the chlorine to mix with water coming from the spring.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria in March announced that the bombing of the Ayn Alfija is a “war crime.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)