Waterlogged and pothole-ridden roads trouble pedestrians in Idlib

A road filled with potholes and water pools in Idlib - January 10, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

A road filled with potholes and water pools in Idlib - January 10, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)


Walking through the neighborhoods of Idlib becomes a challenge for Huda al-Mohammad when she leaves home to run daily errands and buy necessities, due to the accumulation of rainwater on the streets.

Upon reaching one of the puddles, al-Mohammad stands still for moments, glancing back to make sure there is no car or motorcycle approaching to prevent being splashed.

The potholes dotting Idlib’s streets, together with inadequate sewage networks, disturb the pedestrians who fear getting wet from the stagnant water, and driving visibility for motorists and cyclists is hindered, often leading to accidents and breakdowns.

Al-Mohammad (44 years old), a housewife residing in the city of Idlib, told Enab Baladi that she exerts extra effort when getting around in the winter season, especially during rainfall, as the streets fill with water and puddles form in low-lying areas and in the middle of the roads.

She mentioned that she tries her best to walk along the edges of the streets and to stay vigilant of vehicles to avoid getting her clothes wet, but walking on the edges does not always solve the problem due to home gutters forcing pedestrians to move towards the center of the road.

On his part, Anas al-Saeed (29 years old), a resident of Idlib city, mentioned that it is impossible to avoid water pools or splashes from cars and bikes on the roads, pointing out that sewage networks do not drain the water during rainfall adequately.

Abdul Hameed Salem (45 years old), a person with disabilities, finds difficulty in moving with his tricycle and fears falling into one of the potholes that are hard to see when filled with rain.

Salem added that he only leaves the house in the winter if it is absolutely necessary, stressing that he also fears incurring maintenance costs for his tricycle.

Severe congestion and vehicle slippage

Heavy rainfall leads to the formation of mild torrents in the streets of Idlib city, forcing drivers to cross very slowly to avoid falling into potholes they cannot see, and to prevent splashing pedestrians with gathered water, resulting in street congestion.

Faisal al-Qasem (35 years old), a taxi driver in Idlib city, stated that driving under rain and on these streets could lead to severe losses and terrifying traffic accidents, so he attempts to drive calmly.

The driver added that the accumulated rainwater on the roads leads to vehicle slippage, and it’s rare for a day to end without witnessing a motorcycle skid or a car sliding on a curve, hence drivers try to maintain as much safe distance as possible.

The driver also pointed out that these potholes financially exhaust the drivers and increase the frequency of car tire damages.

The mayor of Idlib, Asaad Beilsani, explained to Enab Baladi that the cause of clogged or weak drainage in the city is due to the small amount of water passing through them and the severe sediment build-up in the sewage lines, which is getting worse by the day.

He added that when it rains, the sewage lines are unable to drain the water quickly, especially in low-lying areas where water from higher ground accumulates and, therefore, the existing stormwater drains are insufficient for drainage.

According to Beilsani, the municipality of Idlib intends to create additional drains to speed up the drainage of rainwater, noting that the municipality is currently, and for a while now, conducting maintenance on sewage lines and drains for a faster discharge.

For years, the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) working in Idlib has installed speed bumps and traffic signals to help ease the traffic crisis and reduce traffic accidents in the city.


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