Syria 24h: January 1, 2017

Many ceasefire violations reported. Russian airstrikes on the town of Meznaz in rural Aleppo this morning. New airstrikes on Wadi Barada reported this afternoon… UN demands access for aid delivery to 15 besieged areas, but Assad regime blocks. 

Facebook cover photo: We took a #StandWithAleppo, now is the time to #SaveWadiBarada Civilians are at risk. Please help!
Facebook cover photo: We took a #StandWithAleppo, now is the time to #SaveWadiBarada Civilians are at risk. Please help!

Enforce the Ceasefire in Wadi Barada, Syria

On December 31, 2016 a sniper from the Hezbollah army shot and killed a child in his own home in the valley of Wadi Barada, Syria. This was the same day that the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favor of the ceasefire agreement signed by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, welcoming the efforts to end the war in Syria.

Unfortunately, there has been no peace for the people living in the valley of Wadi Barada. Many innocent men, women, and children are being injured and killed every day from Assad’s ceasefire violations.

Wadi Barada is a rebel-protected area in the northwestern countryside of Damascus. Despite signing the ceasefire agreement, President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian-backed troops Hezbollah once again began their repeated attempts to enter the villages in the Wadi Barada valley through repeated bombings, shelling, missiles, and sniper fire, not giving a second thought to the innocent lives he and his army have taken.

Trapped with no food or electricity in freezing temperatures, a few civilians have posted cries for help on social media to the international community. They tell us that without any food or heat they will soon die. Shortly thereafter, Assad effectively cut off all communication to and from the Wadi Barada area.

He’s trying to silence their cries for help before anyone can even hear them. Both the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah have warned of the ”massacre” that they will incur if they succeed in entering the valley.

The residents of Wadi Barada have no affiliations whatsoever to terrorists and do not share the Daesh or Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham ideologies. They’re only asking us to enforce the ceasefire they were promised, as well as allow international organizations like the International Red Cross and United Nations into the area to give the residents access to the most basic human rights, such as food and medicine.

Please help save the lives of 100,000 civilians living in the Wadi Barada area by signing this petition and demanding that the international community enforce the ceasefire agreement, as well as allow international aid into the community to provide the residents of Wadi Barada with food and medicine. Your signature could help save thousands of lives.

NGOs in Wadi Barada Signal Alarm as Regime & Allies Mass Troops to Attack the Area

Civic institutions and NGOs in Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus appealed to the international community and the United Nations to take urgent action to save the lives of over 100,000 civilians trapped in the area.
In a statement released on Saturday, the civic institutions and NGOs in Wadi Barada valley warned against the possibility of massacres against civilians should regime forces and their allied Iranian-backed militias storm the area which has been subjected to constant aerial and artillery bombardment in recent days.
Local activists said that the Assad regime and its allied foreign militias are massing troops near the village of Ashrafiya on the outskirts of the valley in preparation for a large-scale ground attack on the rebel-held of villages of the valley. The regime build-up comes with intense bombardment by heavy artillery and barrel bombs despite the Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire which took effect on Thursday.
Two barrel bombs and four airstrikes by regime jets hit the valley in the early hours of Saturday, while regime forces and the Hezbollah militia continue to pound the area with heavy artillery. The bombardment has caused complete power outage since it began last week, further increasing the suffering of civilians trapped inside the area. Regime forces have also been blocking the entry of food and medical supplies to the area for over a week.
The statement said that nearly five million people in Damascus and its countryside are facing a threat of water being cut off after regime jets bombed Ayn Alfija water pumping station, putting it out of service. The civic institutions and NGOs said they were ready to allow maintenance teams into the area to repair the facility once the regime bombardment stopped.

UN demands access for aid delivery, Assad regime blocks

The United Nations humanitarian aid chief Stephen O’Brien said he urged the Assad regime to give access to the UN to deliver aid to thousands in need of help in Syria.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Friday, O’Brien called the ceasefire “extremely welcome”. He added that the UN contacted the Assad regime for access to areas in need, but there has been no positive response.

UN Syria Special Advisor Jan Egeland said that the UN wants to provide aid to 15 besieged areas, but it needs to guarantee the safety of aid delivery operations, according to AP.