H2NO: The city of Aleppo's water supply has been cut off in both regime and opposition-controlled areas for over a week as the regime and opposition trade accusations of blame and millions of residents scramble to find water sources.

The Suleiman al-Halabi station, controlled by the regime, recently stopped pumping water into the city, contributing to the cutoff, as agencies overseeing the station exchange accusations surrounding the reason for the widespread service disruption.

Engineer Omar Muhammad, from the Public Services Administration in Aleppo, told Syria Direct that Aleppo's water cutoff is due to the regime's barrel bombing of the opposition-controlled a-Sakhur Station for Electricity Generation. He added that the city of Aleppo only has two water pumping stations, a-Sakhur and Suleiman al-Halabi, and while a-Sakhur was bombed, Suleiman al-Halabi began experiencing service disruptions five days ago. The engineer charged that the regime has dragged its feet in repairing al-Halabi.

Furthermore, activist Ahmed al-Ahmed told Syria Direct on Tuesday that "continued bombing of opposition-controlled areas has led to widespread damage to the water distribution network, which in turn caused the flooding of various streets, threatening building foundations--to say nothing of wasting water.”

For its part, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs penned two letters on Monday to the United Nations' Secretary General and the head of the Security Council blaming opposition forces for the ongoing water crisis in the city of Aleppo. "Terrorists have prevented the pumping of water through the Suleiman al-Halabi station," the ministry stated, "which is the main source of drinking water for the city—this has led to cutting access to water in all city neighborhoods.” The Foreign Ministry described the water blockade as criminal "collective punishment," which has prevented three million inhabitants from accessing clean water because of their opposition to rebel groups.  

Residents have warned of a humanitarian disaster if the water cutoff continues, especially as Aleppo is witnessing difficult humanitarian conditions caused by continuous regime barrel bombing of residential areas.

Photo courtesy of Lens Young Homsi.

-May 13, 2014

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