50,000 people without drinking water after reported Russian airstrike

A reported Russian airstrike on Saturday in central Idlib province destroyed an aid dispensary containing a bakery that produced over 300,000 pounds of bread per month and a well providing safe-drinking water to an estimated 50,000 people, local activists tell Syria Direct.

As a result of the attacks “the well and bread ovens [in Maarat al-Numan] have completely stopped functioning and one of the dispensary’s drivers as well as the son of another driver were killed,” Zacharia al-Haraki, the director of al-Dura al-Khair charity that operates the dispensary, told Syria Direct.

Charred bags of grain lay beside a mangled water-truck in a video showing the strike’s aftermath posted by local pro-opposition media site AlMarra Today on Sunday.

“The strike was definitely Russian, although the regime and their Russian allies both target civilian sites such as ovens and schools,” said al-Haraki.

Syria Direct previously reported on the destruction of a major bakery in Aleppo province by a reported Russian airstrike last month.

The loss of the well will have an acute impact on displaced people in the area for whom it was the sole source of free, safe drinking water.

“Maarat al-Numan contains a large number of displaced people from the Damascus, Hama and Homs countrysides. Even the young boy that was killed in the strike was originally from Damascus. The dispensary’s well provided these families with safe drinking water,” said local Civil Defense member Radi Saad.

“The recent strikes have all hit civilian and infrastructure targets, there was no military presence in their vicinity,” said Saad.

Photo courtesy of AlMarra Today

- Reported by Orion Wilcox.

Noura Hourani

Noura Hourani studied English Literature at Tishreen University and previously worked as a private English tutor. She left Syria at the beginning of the conflict.