Muhammad Fares, a Syrian journalist from Wadi Barada, discusses the long history of water as a weapon in the Damascus suburbs and the river valley that contains the larger story of the Syrian conflict.
BEIRUT – On January 29, a small group of Syrian army soldiers entered the mountain town of Ain al-Fijeh, home to the Fijeh Spring, which supplies roughly two thirds of the water to Damascus.
They stamped their feet in the cold, took selfies and glowered at the rebel fighters who had controlled the area until that point.
One of the soldiers climbed up a metal tower and tied a small Syrian flag to a metal strut.
“They claim they achieved their victory,” one of the rebel fighters said bitterly on a videotape of the episode. “But they came in here thanks to an agreement with us.”
The flag marked the end of a bloody, month-long government offensive in Wadi Barada, a river valley that runs from the mountainous border with Lebanon all the way to the gates of Damascus.
The valley is home to about 18 villages and towns; many of them have been held by various armed groups – including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army – since 2012 or later.
The government and its allied militias have been imposing a partial siege on the valley since late 2013.
This water pumping station in Ain al-Fijeh on the outskirts of the capital was damaged during the fighting in the Wadi Barada area after government forces recaptured the area from the rebels in January. (AFP/STRINGER)
In late December, the government claimed a rebel attack had polluted the Fijeh Spring. Rebel groups released a video of what they claimed were government bombs falling on the large structure that housed the spring.
As water taps in Damascus ran dry for weeks, the government stepped up a bombing campaign across the rebel-held parts of the valley.
In late January, the two sides agreed to a cease-fire – in essence, a rebel surrender – to evacuate fighters and their wounded from rebel-held parts of Wadi Barada to the largely opposition-controlled province of Idlib.
The agreement ended the immediate crisis. But this was not the first time that water had been used as a weapon in Wadi Barada, and it probably won’t be the last.
The Syrian government has always prioritized control of natural resources and geographically strategic areas. Wadi Barada is both. The mountains that bring water to Damascus are also a vital link with the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon.
For years, the mountainous valley has been a conduit for smuggling arms and illicit goods – a generator of revenue, and an important social safety valve during the 1980s and ’90s, but also a source of unease for the central government.
In the mid-1990s, former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad’s government cracked down on the smuggling networks that it had previously allowed to flourish.
Throughout the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the government consolidated control by expropriating land along the banks of the Barada river, diverting the water itself and building large-scale military infrastructure in the area. This served a dual purpose: as Damascus and its outskirts expanded, they needed more water.
But the government’s crackdown also kept the people of Wadi Barada from posing a threat to its control over water resources that are essential to Damascus.
Map of Syria locating clashes between the regime and rebels in Wadi Barada and Islamic State group advances around Deir Ezzor. (AFP)
Wadi Barada encapsulates the larger story of the Syrian conflict: A once-thriving rural area is slowly drained of resources – natural, economic and social – until its people either migrate abroad, move to cities or give up. When the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government began in early 2011, many residents of Wadi Barada had seen their land and water – and often their livelihoods – taken away from them for decades.
Muhammad Fares is the alias of a Syrian journalist from Wadi Barada who is currently living in Europe. He has written extensively about the water wars in the valley, and is currently writing a book on the topic.
- 1 Syria Deeply: Let’s start by defining Wadi Barada. What do people in Syria mean when they say Wadi Barada?
- 1.1 Syria Deeply: So it ends right at the gate of Damascus? That answers my next question, which is why this area is strategically so important
- 1.2 Syria Deeply: There’s no civilian economic activity, in other words?
- 1.3 Syria Deeply: Can you describe a little bit what you saw growing up, and how the area changed?
- 2 Wadi Barada: Snapshot of a Civil War
- 3 Syria conflict: Jets deliberately bombed Damascus spring – UN
- 4 Syrian Arab Republic: Wadi Barada Flash Update No. 1 (14 January 2017) [EN/AR] – Syrian Arab Republic
- 5 Wadi Barada
Syria Deeply: Let’s start by defining Wadi Barada. What do people in Syria mean when they say Wadi Barada?
Muhammad Fares: The word wadi means valley, and the valley locates on the edges of the Barada river.
But the term Wadi Barada has been built over the past four years to mean an area that is full of smugglers, terrorists, drug dealers, weapon dealers, etc.
… Whereas Wadi Barada in fact is a geographical area that locates between the main spring of Barada River and Rabweh, the western gate of Damascus, just by the Tishreen Palace.
Syria Deeply: So it ends right at the gate of Damascus? That answers my next question, which is why this area is strategically so important
Fares: In my opinion, the conclusion of the ongoing war today is to give Assad and Iran – or the regime, even if Assad is not there – the eastern part of Syria. Wadi Barada is important because it links Damascus with Lebanon and the coastal area. More specifically, with Baalbek, and the whole Beqaa Valley, where Hezbollah fighters are.
Wadi Barada itself is a very militarized area. Here we have the Syrian Republican Guard; and here there is a research center, Jamraya Research Center, which was targeted by the Israelis back in 2013.
Just a few kilometers from Wadi Barada, we have Ain as-Saheb, which was targeted by the Israelis in 2003, the first time Israel targeted Syria after 1973. Two or three months ago Israel targeted Sabura, less than 10 kilometers from Wadi Barada.
There is a military airport here, called Mezzeh Airport. It was targeted by the Israelis last year as well.
The people of Wadi Barada owned all of those areas, but they were expropriated in the ’70s. We grew up knowing that on the tops of the mountains, it’s all army.
It’s a residential area, but in the whole area of Wadi Barada, there is not a single civilian project.
For example, it’s full of orchards – in 2010 it had around 200,000 trees of apple, apricot, different types of cherries, et cetera – yet there is no factory for making jam or making juice. There is no development.
Syria Deeply: There’s no civilian economic activity, in other words?
Fares: It depends. People in Ain al-Fijeh, for example, were relying more on tourism. They had around 70 small and medium restaurants in their areas. However, the areas from the valley to the Old Beirut Road are all expropriated, and all of that militarized.
Syria Deeply: Can you describe a little bit what you saw growing up, and how the area changed?
Wadi Barada: Snapshot of a Civil War
Sa‘id has always loved swimming. When he was little, he spent summer afternoons with his friends on the banks of Syria’s Barada River. When the river level started to drop, in the mid-1990s, he went to a swimming pool newly opened in the nearby village of Basima.
The pool belongs to the Abu al-Nour Foundation, an Islamic organization based in the capital of Damascus, where thousands of students come from across the world to train as imams.
Within a few months of his first visit to the pool, Sa‘id had started attending the twice-weekly lectures delivered by the grand mufti of Syria and founder of Abu al-Nour, the Sufi sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro.
He began talking to villagers about “the straight path” prescribed in the Qur’an and took regular busloads of people from his native region of Wadi Barada to the Islamic foundation. His activities did not attract the attention of the Syrian security services because the government considered Kuftaro’s Sufism non-threatening.
But then Sa‘id moved to the coastal city of Jabla, where he met a group of men who introduced him to puritanical salafi doctrine. By the time he started working, in a factory in Damascus, all of his friends were salafis.
“Those swimming trips changed my life,” Sa‘id says now. “The regime condoned—even celebrated—Sufi preaching and advocacy.
It was not until I developed new ideas and changed my appearance”—growing a beard, wearing the shortened trousers typical of salafi garb—“that the intelligence services started chasing me.”
Shortly after the beginning of the popular uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Asad in March 2011, Sa‘id was detained for two months by Syrian intelligence after an informer reported that he was leading protests in Wadi Barada.
Upon his release, he contacted an old salafi friend and started working with him to funnel money and weapons to those in Wadi Barada who wanted to take up arms against the regime.
That friend was Sheikh Zahran ‘Alloush, now military chief of the Saudi-backed Islamic Front and leader of the Army of Islam that operates in the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Eastern Ghouta.
“I did not believe in the protests in the beginning,” Sa‘id said. “I believe that warding off evil takes precedence over enjoining the good. I also believed that the authorities must be obeyed. But a Muslim should not hand over another Muslim to an oppressor. The only response to the way they treated our brothers in Dar‘a”—the southern town where the uprising began—“was the sword.”
By mid-2012, Sa‘id had joined Jabhat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Qaeda operating in Syria and Lebanon.
Lately, however, he has switched his loyalty to the Islamic State, or ISIS, which is rapidly gaining ground in Wadi Barada, having won over an estimated 50 to 200 fighters from other rebel groups.
The recruits are not all religious militants—they include convicted criminals and petty smugglers who change their political colors with every shift in the balance of power in the area.
Until the early 1980s, Wadi Barada was a fertile river valley known for its fruits and other crops, as well as a prime summer vacation spot. The Barada River watered the gardens of Damascus and the Ghouta plain beyond. Today, due largely to regime policies, the valley is considerably drier and poorer. But Wadi Barada has great strategic importance in the struggle for power in Syria.
Located between the Syrian capital and the border with Lebanon, the valley is a thoroughfare connecting Damascus to the mountainous area of Qalamoun to the northwest. Qalamoun is a critical supply route for opposition fighters in Homs and the cities of the north.
The Syrian army and its ally, the militia of Lebanese Hizballah, are engaged in heavy battle with Jabhat al-Nusra and other rebels for control of the region. (ISIS, for now, appears to be fighting the other opposition forces in Qalamoun.
) Perhaps just as important as supply routes is the region’s snowfall: The runoff trickles into the catchment basin of the Fija spring, the main water source in Wadi Barada. Despite its depletion over the decades, the Fija spring provides two thirds of the drinking water consumed in the capital city.
On December 10, 2014, ISIS called on the opposition factions in Wadi Barada—mainly Jabhat al-Nusra—to swear allegiance to its self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and its local emir, a Jordanian named Sheikh Abu Bakr al-‘Attar. The jihadi group added that it planned to declare Wadi Barada part of its caliphate, as part of its baqa’ wa tamaddud (remain and expand) strategy.
Thus far Jabhat al-Nusra has not sworn allegiance to Baghdadi, but a number of its members have. ‘Attar himself left al-Nusra at the end of 2014. An informed source in Wadi Barada claims that ISIS has three sleeper cells there awaiting orders. In early May, with the fighting erupting in Qalamoun, ISIS threatened civil servants in the area with death if they do not leave their jobs.
Sa‘id says that if ISIS comes to control Wadi Barada and the Fija spring, it would be a turning point in the war. The valley’s water has already been used as a weapon.
In November 2014, two rival jihadi groups cut off the water supply to Damascus after the army bombed a number of villages in the valley. After three days, complaints from the capital’s increasingly thirsty population forced the Syrian army to negotiate with the rebels to turn the taps back on.
Earlier, in February 2012, local men, at the time calling themselves the Free Syrian Army, seized control of the Fija spring after government forces had shelled Wadi Barada and killed dozens of civilians.
These rebels threatened to cut off the flow of water, demanding that the army withdraw from Wadi Barada and that the shelling cease. After negotiations, the rebels handed the spring back to the technical personnel in charge.
Now the presence of ISIS has raised the stakes. “Our ISIS brothers are serious and professional in what they do,” Sa‘id said. “They shoot directly at the target.
At the moment there are only a couple of hundred of them, but already they are addressing core problems in the area….
I cannot say this in public yet but soon Wadi Barada will be diyar al-tamkin”—the ISIS term for an area under its sway—“and ISIS will establish Islamic rule.”
A Strategic Valley
The layers of graffiti in Sa‘id’s home village of Kufayr al-Zayt say a lot about the recent history of Wadi Barada.
On one mud-covered wall behind an old jasmine tree, there is a line from a speech by the former president Hafiz al-Asad during the 1973 war, rendered in elegant, multi-colored calligraphy: “Today, we are fighting the battle of honor and pride, in defense of our precious land, our glorious history and the heritage of our forefathers. We fight the battle, equipped with faith in God and ourselves, and with the solid and compelling determination that victory will be ours.” Further up the wall another faded slogan reads: “A nation led by Hafiz al-Asad will never prostrate itself.” An artist added this phrase in the early 1990s as a show of defiance of Israel and the West. Today, however, jihadis and their sympathizers interpret it as proof that Syria under the Asads—a Syria led by a secular authority and not a caliph—rejects Islam and its rituals.
On another wall one can still make out a painting of the flag of Syrian revolution. Over it a messy scrawl in black quotes the hadith: “A companion of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked him, ‘What is salvation?’ The Prophet said: ‘Restrain your tongue, stay at home and weep for your sin.’”
Since 2012, opposition fighters from different factions have taken control of swathes of the Damascus hinterlands, including Wadi Barada, as they advanced upon the capital. The regime is not giving in. A firmer grip on Wadi Barada would allow safe passage for Syrian army troops from Damascus to the combat zone in Qalamoun.
The regime could also use this corridor to besiege Zabadani, a town partly in rebel hands since early 2012. At least until June 2011, Zabadani was the logistical hub for Iranian supply of Hizballah in Lebanon.
In April 2010, Israeli and US officials accused Syria itself of transferring long-range Scud missiles to Hizballah via Zabadani.
The villages of Wadi Barada are distributed in four administrative districts that are part of Rif Dimashq or Damascus Countryside governorate—‘Ayn al-Fija, Madaya, Qudsaya and Zabadani.
All four districts have witnessed fighting between the opposition and the army, which has bolstered its arsenal with PKC and DShK machine guns, 122-mm howitzers and T-72 battle tanks.
The army has so far been unable to recapture Wadi Barada, however, as the rugged terrain makes it difficult to deploy infantry, missiles or artillery.
Instead, the regime has tried aggressive police tactics, installing checkpoints on all roads to Wadi Barada and regularly arresting fighters and their relatives, as well as random civilians. It has also been trying to recruit locals as informers and National Defense Force paramilitaries.
The main military units operating in Wadi Barada are the Thirteenth and 104th Brigades of the Republican Guard. These troops are posted on hilltops and ridges from which they can easily fire upon targets in the valley below.
In addition, forces of the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard and the so-called Suicide Battalion are positioned in the area.
The latter, made up of 4,000 to 6,000 soldiers, is attached to the Fourth Armored Division led by Bashar al-Asad’s brother, Mahir.
The army also has several installations in Wadi Barada, including two camps for Baath Party boy scouts, one of which serves as headquarters for army and Hizballah operations against Zabadani. The air defense base on Mt. Abel launches missiles at Zabadani and Qalamoun.
The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center in Jumraya is a key site for the production of chemical weapons. It has been repeatedly struck by Israel without retaliation.
Meanwhile, the barrel bombs that the regime uses against civilians are manufactured at the Industrial Establishment of Defense in al-Hama, which is part of the Ministry of Defense.
Although there was no fighting in Wadi Barada until February 2012, many locals knew how to use firearms, particularly the smugglers who had frequently clashed with border patrols before 2011.
Men who have joined the different opposition groups have acquired extensive combat experience over the past three years, especially during battles for Qalamoun and Zabadani.
Some of them also had been to Iraq to fight US occupation forces there.
There are three main opposition factions: the nominally secular Free Syrian Army, the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and another salafi coalition known mainly as Ahrar al-Sham. Ahrar al-Sham, in turn, is part of the Islamic Front, the Saudi-backed grouping whose constituent elements operate under various names in different parts of the country.
The rise of jihadi movements in Wadi Barada is surprising, to some extent, as hardline Islamist movements previously had little success in the valley. During the clampdown on the Syrian Muslim Brothers in the 1970s and 1980s, only one man from Wadi Barada was imprisoned.
When he was released after a 17-year sentence, he had to write regular reports about his activities, movements and personal contacts.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the US invasion of Iraq, locals largely ignored attempts to establish jihadi movements, due either to lack of interest or to fear of the intelligence services.
The regime was publicly committed to stamping out “Sunni extremism” on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border after the fighting at Nahr al-Barid refugee camp in Lebanon in May 2007. Many religious youth in Wadi Barada were summoned by security forces and warned to eschew “deviant thought” that “incites sedition.”
Syria conflict: Jets deliberately bombed Damascus spring – UN
image captionThe Ain al-Fijeh spring provides 70% of all Damascus water
UN human rights experts say the Syrian air force deliberately bombed a spring outside Damascus in December, cutting off the water supply for 5.5 million people living in and around the city.
The Syrian government blamed rebels for damaging the Ain al-Fijeh spring during the battle for the Wadi Barada valley.
But a new report by a UN commission of enquiry says evidence showed the damage was caused by at least two air strikes.
The attack, it concludes, was grossly disproportionate and was a war crime.
The report was published a day before the sixth anniversary of the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, which evolved into a civil war that activists say has left more than 320,000 people dead.
On 22 December, government forces launched an offensive to regain control of Wadi Barada, in the hills north-west of Damascus, after a siege lasting three years.
image captionWadi Barada is of high strategic value for the government and the opposition
On the second day of the offensive, Ain al-Fijeh was bombed, causing extensive damage to the structures of the spring and killing at least one rebel fighter. Both sides blamed each other for the attack.
On the same day, the Damascus Water Authority announced that it had cut off water supplies, accusing armed groups of contaminating the water with fuel.
The UN investigators looked into the allegation and found no reports of people suffering from symptoms of contamination on or before 23 December.
image captionThe Ain al-Fijeh water structure was eventually repaired in early February
However, they were told by witnesses that shrapnel from the bombing had damaged fuel and chlorine storage tanks, which contaminated the water.
The investigators also examined videos of the bombing, photographs of the damage to the spring, and satellite imagery. They concluded that the area was struck several times by high-explosive aerial bombs dropped by the Syrian air force, which indicated the spring was purposely targeted.
image captionRussia claimed the pictures of the air strikes on the schools in Haas were fabricated
The commission of inquiry also says the Syrian air force committed another war crime by bombing a complex of five schools in Haas, a village in rebel-held Idlib province, on 26 October. Twenty-one children were among the 36 civilians killed.
Witnesses told the UN investigators that there were no checkpoints of armed groups present in Haas at the time of the attack, which they said involved jet fighters dropping several bombs in the vicinity of the schools and returning soon afterwards to target parents and rescue workers.
Video footage purportedly of the strikes taken by an interviewee shows a Sukhoi 22 jet dropping a parachute bomb, and remnants of FAB-500ShN parachute bombs were found in the area and photographed, according to the report.
image captionTwenty-one children were killed and 61 others injured in the attack
Russia, which is carrying out air strikes in support of President Assad, denied the Russian or Syrian air forces had attacked Haas and claimed the pictures of the incident were fabricated. But the UN investigators said such an assertion was clearly contradicted by the evidence.
They also noted that while both the Russian and Syrian air forces had FAB-500ShN bombs in their arsenals, only the Syrian air force were flying Sukhoi 22s.
The use of banned chlorine munitions on several occasions in attacks on rebel-held areas of the Damascus countryside and Idlib province is also documented.
The investigators concluded that government or pro-government forces were behind incidents in Saraqeb on 1 August, Bseema on 8 January, and in the eastern Ghouta region between 30 January and 21 February, which left one person dead.
Rebel and jihadist groups are meanwhile accused of carrying out indiscriminate attacks with indirect artillery fire, resulting in dozens of civilian casualties.
Syrian Arab Republic: Wadi Barada Flash Update No. 1 (14 January 2017) [EN/AR] – Syrian Arab Republic
- Since 22 December, an estimated 5.5 million people in Damascus and surrounding areas have been cut off from their main source of water supply, the Ein Elfijeh and Barada springs, after those were damaged.
- Following an agreement of 13 January, government and SARC technical teams entered the Wadi Barada area the same day to carry out a damage assessment of the water sources and infrastructure at the Ein Elfijeh spring site with a view to repairing the facility as soon as possible.
- At least 715,000 people living in elevated areas in rural Damascus have not been reached with regular water supply for the last three weeks, while an emergency rotation system for water supply was put in place for other residents of Damascus city living in lower lying areas.
- According to SARC, at least 15,000 people have been displaced from Wadi Barada to neighboring villages since the beginning of the fighting.
- The UN calls on all parties to ensure unrestricted and sustained access in order to restore the provision of water which is essential for the survival and well-being of the civilian population.
- 5.5m people affected by water cuts with only sporadic access to water
- 715,000 people living in elevated areas have no access to water at all as a result.
- 85,000 students have been reached by water trucking activities in 84 schools
- 15,000 liters of fuel for the operation of water production centers provided daily
- Situation Overview
Wadi Barada (the Barada valley) is located in rural Damascus, some 25 kilometers south-west of the capital, and is under the control of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs). Most roads leading to Wadi Barada and the surrounding heights are under control of the Syrian Government. Heavy clashes were ongoing up to 11 January, and an agreement between both parties was reportedly on 13 January.
On 22 December, water reservoirs were reportedly contaminated with diesel and organic solvents. In the following days, conflict escalated, resulting with the main pipeline being damaged and ever since, an estimated 5.
5 million people in Damascus and surrounding areas have been cut off from their two primary sources of water supply, after Ein Elfijeh and Barada springs.
Previously, the two water sources satisfied 70 per cent of the demand for clean and safe water in and around Damascus.
Within Damascus city the Water Authority has initiated an emergency rationing system under which each neighborhood receives water through the supply network every five to six days for three to four hours.
This water is provided from groundwater wells located across the city, however, the water provided is only enough to meet about 30 per cent of the daily water needs.
The Water Authority has plans to scale its daily provision, currently 140,000 – 150,000 m3, to 180,000–200,000 m3 per day, or enough to meet an estimated 40 per cent of water needs.
Some 715,000 people living in elevated areas are not covered through this rationing system and have been without access to water in their homes for nearly three weeks. This has led many to rely on the purchase of sometimes untreated water from private vendors at high prices, putting additional financial strain on families and increasing risks of waterborne diseases.
According to information received, government and SARC technical teams entered the Wadi Barada area on 13 January to carry out a damage assessment of water sources and infrastructure at the Ein Elfijeh spring site with a view to repairing the facility as soon as possible. The UN team is following up with the water authority and SARC, and stands ready to enter the area and provide additional support to ensure the swift repair of the water infrastructure.
According to SARC, fighting in Wadi Barada since 15 December has displaced at least 15,000, mostly to Al-Rawda, Al-Tkiyeh, Zabadani Plain and the Dimas areas. SARC in conjunction with the UN and other partners is leading on the response to those displaced.
The UN’s request to reach Wadi Barada with a humanitarian convoy under the January plan had been denied.
Wadi Barada (Arabic: وادي بردى) is a river valley in southwestern Syria. The valley is home to 17 villages and towns.
The word wadi (وادي) means valley in Arabic. “Barada” is thought to be derived from the word barid (بارد), which means “cold” in Semitic languages.
The ancient Greek name (Greek: Χρυσορρόας, translit. Chrysorrhoas, means “streaming with gold”).
 The river has also suffered from severe drought in the last decades, mainly due to the lower rainfall rates and the large increase in the population in the area.
Wadi Barada is located in the north-western part of the Syrian capital of Damascus, in the Qalamoun district. It is known for being a mountainous area and in direct contact with the eastern mountain range of Lebanon.
The Barada River is located in the western suburb of Damascus, it is 84 km long, stems from Zabadani, and drains in Al Otaiba Lake.
The region also has a main water source.
The water of Ein Fajja in the Barada valley is a major source of the capital, providing drinking water to more than six million people in Damascus and its countryside.
Villages and towns of Wadi Barada
The following villages and towns make up Wadi Barada. The population numbers are according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) for 2004.
|Souq Wadi Barada||سوق وادي بردى||3,678||al-Zabadani|
|Kafr al-Awamid||كفر العواميد||1,588||al-Zabadani|
|Deir Qanun||دير قانون||4,213||Ain al-Fijah|
|Kfeir al-Zayt||كفير الزيت||4,170||Ain al-Fijah|
|Deir Muqaran||دير مقرن||4,803||Ain al-Fijah|
|Ain al-Fijah||عين الفيجة||3,806||Ain al-Fijah|
|Ashrafiyat al-Wadi||أشرفية الوادي||2,101||Qudsaya|
|Jdeidat al-Wadi||جديدة الوادي||5,227||Qudsaya|
Syrian civil war
Further information: Wadi Barada offensive (2016–17)
Syrian rebels captured the village of Ain al-Fijah in February 2012. Engineers and technicians who worked at the water spring remained in place.
After the rebel capture of Wadi Barada, government forces imposed a blockade on the villages. The army retook control of the town in 28 January 2017 and the next day the Army took full control of Wadi Barada.
- ^ a b “After Battle for Wadi Barada, the Damascus Water War Isn't Over”. newsdeeply.com. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- ^ Rihani, Ameen (2016). The Book of Khalid: A Critical Edition. Syracuse University Press. p. 455. ISBN 0815653328.
- ^ Kraeling, Emil G. H. (2008). Aram and Israel: The Aramaeans in Syria and Mesopotamia. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 46. ISBN 1606083945.
- ^ “وادي بردى.. منطقة سورية تواجه مصير حلب”. www.aljazeera.net.
- ^ “الجيش السوري الحر من داخل نبع عين الفيجة 2 2 2012” – via www.youtube.com.
- ^ “Wadi Barada uses water spring to keep regime invasion at bay”. Syria:direct. 20 November 2013.
- ^ Paul Antonopoulos (29 January 2017). “Syrian Army to take full control of Wadi Barada with expulsion of militants”. Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
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