PHOTO: Destruction in Wadi Barada from pro-Assad attacks



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The Assad regime pressed its attacks on the Wadi Barada area, northwest of Syria’s capital Damascus, with bombardment, shelling, and a ground assault on Monday.

The Syrian military and Hezbollah are seeking the recapture of Wadi Barada, about 18 km from the capital, after the opposition rejected a capitulation deal. The area of 13 villages, with about 100,000 people, has a major spring providing Damascus’s water supply.

The offensive began on Friday with rocket-guided mortar and artillery attacks. Fighting yesterday was in Baseimeh village at the edge of the valley,

To justify the assault or to cover up its effects, the regime put out the unsupported claim last week that rebels had “poisoned” the al-Fija spring with diesel fuel. Rebutting the story, a resident and rebels said bombing knocked out a pumping station for an underground pipeline with about 65% of Damascus’s water. A photograph showed the pumping station’s ceiling has collapsed, and videos verified damage and fires.

Rebels and residents said the bombing has killed 14 civilians and hit a medical clinic and civil defense unit.

Pro-Assad forces have long restricted food and fuel to the area, following the “surrender or starve” strategy that has broken resistance in many Damascus suburbs, especially since August.

“They are seeking to push us into a surrender deal to and we will not hand over our land,” said Abu al Baraa, a commander in the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham.

Claim: Regime General Says Kurdish Militia Must Leave Aleppo

The Kurdish outlet Rudaw has again claimed that the Assad regime is demanding the departure of the Kurdish militia YPG from Aleppo city.

The YPG is prominent is the mainly-Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud, clashing with rebels in neighboring areas and now facing pro-Assad forces who have reoccupied all of the city.

The site said it was told by General Haitham Hassoun, “The government had entrusted the PYD [the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party, which oversees the YPG] with these areas and now the government wants them back. Their work in confronting the terrorists has been completed.”

The general said the YPG units must either withdraw or be integrated into the regime military. He alleged:

Ever since the PYD became a US servant and is being used to protect American interests, the government realized the unfaithfulness of the PYD which tries to undermine the government and increase its dominance at our cost.

In the end the PYD must come back under government since they are there as a result of deal.

Rudaw first reported last week that the Assad regime had issued an ultimatum in a meeting between its officials and Kurdish leaders.

Regime media has not acknowledged such a demand, although President Assad has repeatedly said that he will not accept a federal Syria with autonomous Kurdish areas.