Syrian water treatment facility airstrikes slammed by UN

An airstrike that reportedly struck the al-Khafseh drinking water facility in Syrian city Aleppo has been slammed by UN charity, UNICEF...

An airstrike that reportedly struck the al-Khafseh drinking water facility in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been slammed by UN charity, UNICEF.

The 18,000 m3/day facility draws raw water from the Euphrates River – the sole source of drinking water for four million people across Aleppo governorate.

According to UNICEF, the bombing of al-Khafseh caused severe damage and cut off piped water supplies.

Pumping operations are reported to have been since restored but 1.4 million people in rural Aleppo continue to suffer interruptions to their supply, according to the charity.

Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria, said: “In Syria, the rules of war, including those meant to protect vital civilian infrastructure, continue to be broken on a daily basis. The air-strike which reportedly hit al-Khafseh water treatment plant in the northern city of Aleppo last Thursday is a particularly alarming example.”

Singer added: “International Humanitarian Law protects civilian infrastructure and the right of civilians to access services. Accordingly, UNICEF calls once again on all parties to the conflict to end all attacks on water facilities, treatment systems, pipelines, infrastructure and personnel who repair water supply installations.”

Although not confirmed, Syrian news agency SANA said the water facility was targeted by the US-led international coalition.

The World Bulletin, although calling the source of the attack “unclear”, linked the airstrike to Russia, which it said had been carrying out an “extensive air campaign in northern Syria since Sept. 30”.

The UK started airstrikes today on Islamic State targets in Syria after a 10-hour House of Commons debate, in which MPs backed the decision by 397 votes to 223.

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