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World News

12 Jan 2017

Syrian governor says deal to restore Damascus water

Syrian governor says deal to restore Damascus water
DAWN:

Syria’s government has reached a deal for the army to enter a rebel-held area near Damascus and restore the capital’s water supply, the provincial governor said on Wednesday.

Opposition sources denied there was any such deal, but a source inside the Wadi Barada region reported several hundred civilians were leaving under an agreement.

State news agency SANA also reported people were leaving the region, among them several dozen fighters.

The reported deal comes after weeks of fighting in the region, 15 kilometres north-west of Damascus, which has threatened a fragile truce in place since Dec 30.

The fighting has damaged water infrastructure and left some 5.5 million people in the capital and its suburbs facing water shortages, according to the UN.

Damascus provincial governor Alaa Ibrahim told SANA there was now a deal to allow the government to retake control of the region.

“The agreement that was reached in principle requires the militants to give up their heavy weapons and for non-local militants to leave the area of Wadi Barada,” he said.

“Then the Syrian Arab Army will enter the area to clear it of mines and bombs to prepare for the entry of maintenance teams ... to fix the damage caused to the water pumps and pipes by the terrorists’ attacks.”

But Ahmed Ramadan, an official with the opposition National Coalition, denied any such deal had been reached. “This information is untrue and is a part of the [regime and its allies] psychological warfare,” he said.

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