Recently, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group has been facing troubles in fighting against the Syrian army which is succeeding in seizing the terrorists’ positions all over the country.
Against this background, the situation close to Damascus has aggravated. Militants are trying to impede the government forces advancement and are concentrated on sabotage. Terrorists are using all possible means to impose pressure on the government, including prohibited methods of warfare.
Such actions include the sabotage at the water pumping station in the Baradi River valley on the western outskirts of Damascus. It’s been three weeks since Dec. 16 when water was cut off for 5.5 million people in Damascus. The locals largely stopped using water from the river and its tributaries as it may have been contaminated by the terrorists with diesel.
In connection with this, UNICEF urged all sides of the conflict to cease illegal means of warfare and provide security for civilian facilities such as schools, hospitals and water infrastructure. The organization also warned that damage or disruption to water supply may lead to epidemics, especially among children.
The UN has called the militants actions on blocking water supplies from the Baradi is a military crime that could lead to terrible repercussion.
The Syrian government and Damascus city administration have taken special measures to protect residents. 1,100 cubic meters of water have been delivered to the city and distributed to social service and displaced persons centers, hospitals, schools and bakeries.
The previous week, Damascus Governor said that engineers could be sent to repair the water supplies systems in the Barada River valley, which had been agreed with the militants. However, the terrorists didn’t comply with the agreement and refused to lay down their weapons.
By striking out against the capital’s residents, militants are trying to torpedo the truce agreement for Syria that was reached at the end of 2016. Their actions may also affect upcoming negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan seeking a more lasting ceasefire and laying groundwork for talks in Geneva seeking a lasting political settlement. Jihadists have used water as an additional weapon in the war. The militants’ sabotage shows that the army is fighting against Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, not the peaceful opposition, as it would never strike its own people or use prohibited methods of warfare.