Government troops take key water facility
Syrian government troops gained control of the main water source for Damascus on Saturday, as the military worked to secure it and remove land mines in a major development that caps weeks of fighting with rebels in the area, according to Syrian state TV and opposition media.
The development ends the standoff over Ain el-Fijeh village that restricted the water flow to nearly 5 million residents of the Damascus area for over a month. The fighting had also trapped tens of thousands of civilians in the Barada Valley area, where the water source is located.
The opposition monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces entered Ain el-Fijeh along with ambulances to transport the injured as part of a deal to end the fighting there.
A nationwide cease-fire, brokered by Russia and Turkey and in place since Dec. 30, was tested by the fighting in the valley. The fighting was sparked by government claims that rebels poisoned the water source at Ain el-Fijeh — a claim the rebels denied.