Pro-Assad Militias Establish Offensive Positions Around Wadi Barada Amid Ongoing Reports of Artillery Shelling

Storyful Published January 13, 2017

Rumble Amid the ongoing battle over Wadi Barada, located west of Damascus near the Lebanese border, a number of airstrikes and barrel bombings were reported on January 3 in several villages, while pro-Assad militias prepared to storm additional villages.

This video, which is described as showing the pro-Assad National Defense Forces preparing to storm the Bassima Farms area in Wadi Barada, underscores the significance of recent military decisions to reinforce the area with additional forces loyal to the Assad regime.

No casualties have been reported thus far on January 3. However, four people, including one child, were killed amid sniper fire and artillery shelling in Wadi Barada on January 2, according to opposition media reports.

The Wadi Barada Local Council issued a statement on January 2, calling for the immediate intervention of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations to investigate the intentional targeting of critical water systems, like the recently attacked Ein Fijeh springs, while also facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid to those remaining in the area. Additionally, with reference to the recently passed United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for investigations into war crimes in Syria, the local council has requested the “urgent deployment of international observers to monitor the ceasefire process and record violations conducted by any party.”

Several areas in the Wadi Barada region are held by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the Nusra Front, and are thus not subject to the most recent ceasefire agreement.