A Syrian provincial governor said Wednesday the government and rebels have agreed a deal to fix the Damascus water supply, damaged in the latest fighting. But there's no confirmation from the rebels yet. Lucy Fielder reports.
There's no safe drinking water for four million people in and around Damascus; Fighting putting the Syrian capital's main spring out of action in late December. But on Wednesday, the glimmer of a solution. A local governor saying the government and rebels had agreed a plan to get the water supply back up and running. That would mean the rebels who control the Wadi Barada area letting repair technicians enter pumping facilities. No confirmation yet from the rebel side though. Local political activists dismissing the reports. Fighting has raged in Wadi Barada in recent weeks. As so often in Syria's six-year civil war, each side blames the other. Rebels say the supply cut is due to government bombardment; Damascus says the insurgents intentionally polluted the spring with diesel. The U.N. saying the infrastructure was deliberately targeted without pointing the finger either way. But it warned the shortages could lead to waterborne disease outbreaks. And said damaging civilian water supplies constitutes a war crime. When Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said this week his army would take back control of all Syria he mentioned Wadi Barada. Rebel-controlled parts of the Damascus countryside back in the army's sights after it recaptured Aleppo last month.