Saturday, 31 December 2016
Wadi Barada: Civil society and local government groups call for enforcement of the ceasefire agreement
The following statement comes from local civil society and local government organisations in Wadi Barada.
Wadi Barada outside Damascus has seen an escalation of regime attacks by the Assad regime and its allies in recent weeks, including bombing that has damaged water facilities supplying Damascus city. According to the UN, four million people in Damascus are now without mains water as a result of facilities being attacked.
We, the undersigned entities (civil societies organisations, local civil services entities, local activists, Syrian NGOs and local communities organisations) which are working in the towns and villages of Wadi Barada; declare the following:
The civilian and the above mentioned organizations felt optimistic once the cease fire agreement signed under the auspices of Russia and Turkey. We believed the bloodshed will reach to end in Syria in general and in Wadi Barada region in specific. But, unfortunately, the military campaign and offensive operations has not put its end by the regime’s army and its allied militias of Hizboullah the Lebanese militia and with a full support and guidance from Iran. This campaign is threatening more than one hundred thousand civilians trapped in the Wadi Barada region.
The civilians in this region are suffering from the absence of the basic necessities of life. The basic commodities are not accessing the local markets due to severe block of the main access roads. The physical security of the trapped civilians is vitally challenged due to continuous land shelling and air raids. These military attacks are not targeting fronts; rather, it is taking place randomly. The impact of the recent offensive operation is not against the civilians trapped inside Wadi Barada region, it is directly affecting the living conditions of 6 million civilians who are living in Damascus city. The populations in Damascus are suffering from shortage of water because the regime’s air forces have targeted the Fijeh Spring facility and put it out of service.
Although the delegation of the Syrian Free Army notified the Russian delegation of the importance of including Wadi Barada region in the cease fire agreement and recognising the agreement to include this region in the general agreement of the ceasefire, shockingly the regime’s troops and its allied militias among them Hizbollah resumed its aggression after the zero hour by dropping so far more than 35 explosive barrels against civilian areas. In addition, the Syrian regime’s air forces conducted so far 10 air raids against the villages and towns in Wadi Barada. Even more, the ground troops took several attempts to advance from different axes. It is worth to mention, that the defending armed opposition groups and the civilians are taking the most limited response in an attempt to maintain the ceasefire, which they believe it is an opportunity to bring peace to Syria.
The above mentioned entities assure that the regime’s allegations of targeting Fateh Asham bases and personnel are purely lies. The above mentioned entities and the armed opposition groups declare that Fateh Asham does not have presence in Wadi barada region. The Armed opposition group in the region is under the Abdal Asham, which is one of the Syrian Free Army fractions and local groups of people originated from Wadi Barada and who are holding weapons to defend their houses. All of these armed groups are not belonging or believing in Fateh Asham ideology.
We the people of Wadi barada and the above mentioned entities and the Armed Opposition groups operating in Wadi Barada who signed this document, we are calling sponsors of the ceasefire agreement (Russia and turkey) to assume their responsibilities and appealing to them for practicing the needed pressure against the regime and its allied militias for putting on halt the aggression and maintain the protection of civilians and respecting the ceasefire agreement.
We, the above mentioned entities and the armed opposition groups operating in Wadi Barada declare that once the ceasefire agreement is respected and all aggression operations among them ground and air operations are on hold against the civilian populated areas in Wadi Barada, we will work immediately on facilitating the entrance of the maintenance teams to the water facility in Fijeh Spring and allowing the accessories to access and we will make all the available efforts to assist the maintenance team for resuming the water supply to our people in Damascus city.
Finally, we call on representatives from the sponsoring states and the the United Nations organizations and the International Red Cross to enter the Wadi Barada valley to assess the humanitarian situation and facilitating the humanitarian access of the medical and other humanitarian assistance to affected people in Wadi Barada Region.
Relief Commission for Wadi Barada and its neighborhoods
Medical Corps in Wadi Barada
Media Corps in Wadi Barada
Local Council in Wadi Barada
Civil Defense in Wadi Barada
Institution of Barada Al Kheir
Institution of Ghouth Barada