“My arms would hurt so much,” complained Fatimet-Zahra, a 10 year old girl in Aleppo. Since water is frequently and deliberately cut off from her city, she bears the burden of fetching water from a nearby public water tap. The little girl carries a 10-litres can too heavy for her small arms, through the mud and going up a flight of stairs to her families’ shelter.
Fatimet-Zahra’s mom is the only breadwinner in the family. She has to work all day selling snacks. The time consuming and exhausting task of water collecting is left to little Fatimet.
In Syria, water is being used as a weapon of war by parties to the conflict, affecting millions of civilians, depriving them of this lifeline while simultaneously affecting public health and hygiene. UNICEF has documented deliberate water cuts in areas including Aleppo, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Dar’a and Hama. In 2015 alone, over five million Syrians faced potentially life-threatening water shortages as a result of these tactics.
Deliberately depriving a civilian population of water is a war crime. Children are the first victims.