Tue 23 Oct 2018

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Rural Daraa to Suffer Power Cut Unless 80 Million Syrian Pounds Are Collected

Electrician repairing a power tower in rural Damascus (Sputnik)

Electrician repairing a power tower in rural Damascus (Sputnik)

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In Daraa governorate, southern Syria, essential services were cut off, such as water and electricity to impose pressure on the areas’ people, which is out of the Syrian regime’s control.

The al-Asha’ri springs which feed the city of Daraa, part of which is yet under the control of the Syrian regime, were utilized by the regime to supply the western part of Daraa governorate with electricity needed to operate the drinking water stations in al-Asha’ri, following the failure to provide it with fuel.

In the past a few weeks, the Syrian regime started asking the western part of Daraa governorate’s people to collect a sum of money that amounted to 80 million Syrian pounds as its basic condition to supply the al-Asha’ri station with electricity.

Sources, people from the area, have told Enab Baladi that the local council of Da’el has tentatively approved the regime’s demand, while the rest of the local councils refused to indulge in the negotiations.

Enab Baladi tried to contact Da’el Local Council and received no response. In the area, all the local councils are following a policy of reticence since the issue of electricity is highly sensitive, fearing exploiting it to achieve a state of “normalization” with Assad’s forces.

Sources have told Enab Baladi that the regime has supplied the town of Da’el with electricity for five days, as a trial period, and conditioned the process with allocating a guarantor to ensure that the local council will collect the money from the people, adding that the guarantor was a contractor.

Separately from the other towns, electricity was turned on in the town through the power line “20”. This happened while many of the people in the town of Tell Shihab and the surrounding towns and villages refused to pay. The city of Tafas, similarly, have not collected any money to the moment of writing this report. Accordingly, the regime shut off electricity again and requested a “lump-sum”.

 

How Did the Electricity Crisis Start?

When al-Shaykh Maskin power station went out of service and the power line “60” was cut, the Syrian regime provided the al-Asha’ri station with power through the line “20” at a rate of two days for pumping water and two other days for the residential neighborhoods.

These procedures led to corruption and massive exploitation of the voltage lines. Several private power convertors were installed to operate wells to invest in them as agricultural projects in return for a levy. The monetary returns were not paid to the regime; rather, they were transferred to the al-Asha’ri station to provide the salaries of the suspended employees and the operation costs. Following the rehabilitation of the power line “60”, the regime stopped using line “20” which enticed one of the farmers to attack the repair workshop. After this incident, the area’s prestigious figures, the local councils and the factions have interfered and promised not to target the repair workshops again.

The repair workshops fixed the line “60” and it was attacked again. The regime, accordingly, ceased feeding the station with power and called for a regular levy that amount to 80 million Syrian pounds.

According to Enab Baladi’s sources, the local council of the Tell Shihab town, its military council and people have all refused to collect the demanded money during a meeting that joined organizations and intermediaries, believing that responding to this request paves the way for a “reconciliation.”

One of the attendees, who refused to reveal his name for military concerns, told Enab Baladi “that a delegation from al-Asha’ri Station met us and suggested that we collect 1500 Syrian pounds for each family card in exchange for daily a few hours of electricity”.

In sync, the area is suffering escalation at the military and the local levels in the shadow of the news reporting some of Assad’s forces groups’ intention to storm Daraa.

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