Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Al-Qaeda cuts water supply to Damascus, attempts to disrupt ceasefire

U.S./UK Paid “White Helmets” Help Al Qaeda Blocking Water To 5 Million Thirsty Syrians

3 January, 2017

The blockade of water from Wadi Barada to 5 million people in Damascus is taking an interesting turn. The U.S. and UK financed White Helmet organization seems to be directly involved in it. This increases the suspicion that the illegal blockade of water to civilians in Damascus is part of a organized campaign under U.S. command. The campaign is designed to block utilities to government held areas as revenge for the liberation of east Aleppo.

As we described it yesterday:

After the eastern part of the city of Aleppo was liberated by Syrian government forces, the local rebels and inhabitants in the Barada river valley were willing to reconcile with the Syrian government. But the al-Qaeda Takfiris disagreed and took over. The area is since under full al-Qaeda control and thereby outside of the recent ceasefire agreement.On December 22 the water supply to Damascus was suddenly contaminated with diesel fuel and no longer consumable. A day later Syrian government forces started an operation to regain the area and to reconstitute the water supplies.
Photos and a video on social media (since inaccessible but I saw them when they appeared) showed the water treatment facility rigged with explosives. On Dec 27th the facility was blown up and partly destroyed.
The Syrian government is ready to send repair teams to rehabilitate the water flow to the millions of civilians in Damascus. But access to the site is denied and the Syrian army is now trying to push al-Qaeda and its allies away from it.
Curiously some “civil” groups today offered access under several (not agreeable) conditions:
Hassan Ridha @sayed_ridha - 2:10 AM – 3 Jan 2017W
adi Barada statement: we will let teams to fix water spring if SAA-Hezb stop attack, siege lift & monitor ceasefire by intl observers
EHSANI2 @EHSANI22 - 6:43 AM – 3 Jan 2017
Offer by opposition to trade access to water source for #Damascus with halting of military operations by army
Here is the attachment to both tweets. Note who signed it:
Check the logos of the undersigning organizations You will probably recognize the middle one in the second row. Here it is magnified.
And here is the original of that logo taken directly from the website of the Syrian Civil Defense organization aka The White Helmets:
The organizations who make an offer to lift the water blockade of Damascus obviously think they have the power to do so. They then must also be held responsible for keeping the blockade up. They must also have intimate relations with the al-Qaeda fighters who currently occupy the damaged water facilities.
The U.S. and UK government created and paid White Helmets are “impartially”, “neutrally” and “for all Syrians” blocking the water supply to 5 million Syrians in Damascus. U.S. military and CIA officers run the “operations rooms” in Jordan and Turkey that direct the insurgency.
This increases suspicion that the blockade is part of an organized response by the enemies of Syria to the recent liberation of east-Aleppo. As noted yesterday:
This shut down is part of a wider, seemingly coordinated strategy to deprive all government held areas of utility supplies. Two days ago the Islamic State shut down a major water intake for Aleppo from the Euphrates. High voltage electricity masts of lines feeding Damascus have been destroyed and repair teams, unlike before, denied access. Gas supplies to parts of Damascus are also cut.
Even after 14 days of water crisis in Damascus the “western” media are not reporting about the al-Qaeda blockade of water for 5 million Syrians. We can be sure that not a word will be written by them about this illegal hostages taking of millions of civilians in Damascus by their favorite propaganda organization White Helmets.

Al-Qaeda cuts water supply to Damascus, attempts to disrupt ceasefire

Alexander Mercouris
3 January, 2016

Al-Qaeda attempts to disrupt Syrian ceasefire and block preparations for Astana conference by stopping water supply to Damascus and by attacking other Jihadi groups. Meanwhile Western governments and the Western media stay silent.
As was bound to happen, Al-Qaeda in Syria is pulling out the stops to try to disrupt the Russian-Turkish sponsored ceasefire.

Al-Qaeda is in part doing it by attacking other Jihadi groups which have signed up to the ceasefire.  The Iranian news agency Fars reports that there has been fierce infighting between Jihadi groups in Idlib, where Al-Qaeda is in control, whilst Al-Qaeda is continuing to block the evacuation of wounded Shia fighters and civilians from two Shia villages, whose evacuation was agreed as part of the package negotiated by the Russians, the Iranians and the Turks, which led to the withdrawal of Jihadi fighters and civilians from east Aleppo.

The main flashpoint however is the Wadi Barada valley, which provides Damascus with drinking water.  Al-Qaeda has taken control there, ousting other Jihadi groups who have been in control of the valley since 2012.  Having gained control of the valley, Al-Qaeda is being accused by the Syrian government of poisoning the drinking water supplied to Damascus, forcing the Syrian government to restrict supplies of fresh water to the people of Damascus.

The Moon of Alabama has provided a detailed account of the incident, pointing out the complete indifference of Western governments and of the Western media to the plight of the people of Damascus, which contrasts with the relentless attention given to the plight of the civilians in eastern Aleppo during the siege there.

The point about the incident at the Wadi Barada valley is that it is obliging the Syrian army, which has surrounded the valley, to press home its offensive there in order to regain control of the valley so as to restore the supplies of drinking water to Damascus.  Al-Qaeda is using this to claim that the Syrian government is breaking the ceasefire, and has persuaded other Jihadi groups to issue a statement saying they have halted their preparations for the pending peace conference in Astana on that basis.

The BBC has given an account of the incident, which refers to the Jihadi statement, but which otherwise tends to accept Jihadi claims that Al-Qaeda is not in control of the valley, and that the water supply to Damascus is being disrupted not because the water is being poisoned but because of Syrian army shelling.
There is in fact no reason to doubt the Syrian government’s account of the incident.  As the Moon of Alabama has pointed out, social media has been full of boasts by Jihadi supporters admitting to what they have done.

Latest reports from the area say that the Syrian army has already recaptured one of the springs, and given its importance it is a certainty the whole valley will once again be under Syrian government control before long.  It is most unlikely this incident will seriously delay preparations for the peace conference in Astana.  It is striking that the Turkish government has refused to weigh in strongly on the side of the Jihadis during this incident.

What the incident once again shows is the utterly implacable opposition the Syrian government has to face from Al-Qaeda in Syria, and the lengths to which Al-Qaeda is prepared to go.  Unfortunately it also shows the extent to which Western governments and the Western media continue by their silence to collude in Syria with Al-Qaeda’s actions.

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