Urgent Appeal for the Critical Humanitarian Situation in Aleppo
The city of Aleppo stands on the brink of humanitarian crisis, threatening the lives of nearly two and half million civilians, as the water-cut in opposition and regime-held areas enters day seven.
The main water station for the Institution for Drinking Water, located in "Suleiman al-Halabi" region, remains under the occupation of several battalions led by the al-Qaeda affiliateو the Nusra Front (Jabha alNusra).
Frequent news reports have stated that fighters in control of the water pump have prevented the Institution's workers from running it to fill the city's main reservoirs. Also, Insurgents are reportedly attempting to pump water supplies into certain areas in favor of others, ignoring the technical details of the water supply network in Aleppo. This risks leading to permanent damage to the water supply network and causing a long-term humanitarian catastrophe.
Residents have been forced to queue in front of wells to collect water, most of it unclean if not contaminated. Symptoms of diseases caused by unclean-water drinking are spreading in the city, which poses serious concerns of an outbreak of the Cutaneous Leishmaniasis epidemic, with the advent of summer.
Failure to rapidly resolve this crisis will lead to a severe medical catastrophe in the city, because of a shortage of doctors, hospitals and health centers, equipped to deal with these diseases, on one hand, and because the Syrian regime - as a political authority - continues to ignore this acute crisis.
Last month, the "People of Aleppo Initiative" group, proposed a cease-fire that called upon all parties to stop the arbitrary shelling in the city, and to stop employing the lives and basic needs of innocent civilians as forms of blackmail, in the conflict. Alas, the regular Syrian regime forces did not comply with the initiative, and reportedly violated the agreement by shelling an elementary school.
Additionally, the recent agreement between the Syrian authority and the Islamic Front implies that the regime will only distribute humanitarian aid to two villages in the countryside of Aleppo, ignoring the crisis in the governorate as a whole.
Due to the severity of the situation and the need for rapid steps, we demand the following:
• An explicit declaration made by leaders of all political and military parties to protect civilians and distance them from the conflict.
• A public declaration made by the Syrian regime, confirming its commitment to the agreement, and especially the item associated with putting an end to the on-going bombardment of Aleppo.
• A clear statement made by Syrian opposition bodies, clarifying its stance on the water crisis and its perpetrators, and to hold armed insurgents that have a hand in this disaster responsible.
• To lobby the armed factions that control the Institute of Drinking Water located in Suleiman al-Halabi, in order to commit itself not to prevent state employees from working in institutions that fall under their control.
• Media coverage of the crisis in Aleppo regardless of political affiliation.
• A similar agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations and independent organizations active in Syria, to elevate the suffering of civilians in Aleppo, stop the arbitrary shelling, allow water and electricity supplies into the city, and declare an open truce in the entire governorate, under the auspices of the UN and a civil mediator.
• Granting powers to local authorities in the city of Aleppo - represented by the city governor and civil groups cooperating with him - to hold the rationing of electricity and water for a determined period, to surpass the disastrous effects caused by the siege and starvation in Aleppo, and for the main water pumps to regain their function and ability to provide the city with its needs.