Water is being used as a weapon of war on one of Syria’s deadliest battlegrounds, says the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its local affiliate, the Syrian Arab Crescent, in a new video.
Aleppo, a city of more than 2 million before the conflict, has two pumping stations that are sometimes shut down by combatants to put pressure on the opposition. This disrupts supply for thousands of households, who go without water or revert to untreated sources.
The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Crescent have responded by drilling wells near the front lines to provide backup water supplies to civilians. They have also organized loading points to deliver water by truck, says Tammo van Gastel, an ICRC water engineer.
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In March 2011, “peaceful protests” in the rural town of Dara'a in Syria were violently repressed by the government of Bashar Al-Assad and evolved into an armed rebellion. The conflict has further intensified and reports estimate that approximately 220,000 people lost their lives in the conflict by 2015 (Hadid, 2015). A number of scholars have sought to analyse the original causes of the Syrian conflict. Several studies have drawn a link between the protests of March 2011 and climate change.
Several prominent commentators have drawn connections between climate change and the rise of ISIS. US Democrat hopeful Martin O’Malley claimed that climate change has lead to the “extreme poverty that has led now to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence”. John Kerry also argued that climate change would exacerbate Europe’s migration “crisis” and lead to the spread of extremism.