Syrian opposition: Wadi Barada clashes leave 12 dead, 20 wounded
The Syrian regime accused armed factions of assassinating Ghadban, who was chief of the negotiations committee in Wadi Barada
The Syrian opposition said on Sunday that 12 died and 20 were wounded by the Syrian regime as the Syrian army and allied militia clashed with rebels in Wadi Barada near Damascus on Sunday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and the allied Lebanese militia Hezbollah had made some gains against rebels in the Wadi Barada area. Heavy fighting reached the outskirts of the Ain al-Fija town, where the water springs are located, the British-based war monitor said.
This comes after the Observatory said unknown gunmen assassinated retired major general Ahmad Ghadban on Saturday, just 24 hours after he was assigned by the Syrian regime to manage the affairs of the towns of Wadi Barada.
Syria negotiations chief assassinated in Wadi Barada
The Syrian regime accused armed factions of assassinating Ghadban, who was chief of the negotiations committee in Wadi Barada, while activists said Hezbollah militias were involved in the assassination as it was carried out in a regime-controlled area.
Ghadban's assassination revived tensions in the area amid unconfirmed reports about the withdrawal of maintenance teams tasked with resolving the crisis of pumping water from al-Fijah springs towards Damascus.
On Friday, the Observatory said that the regime assigned Ghadban to oversee the operation that aims to resolve the issue of pumping water to Damascus, adding that regime forces would also enter the area of al-Fijah springs to supervise the security situation.
According to the Observatory, the regime's deal also allowed all Syrian fighters who desire to regularize their status to stay in Wadi Barada while those who don't want to can specify where they want to go and the regime will allow them to leave.
A source told the Observatory that the deal did not include non-Syrian fighters, adding that the latter will be expelled from Wadi Barada.
On Friday, regime forces and Hezbollah militias seized control of the Baseema, Kafeer al-Zeit, Kafr al-Awameed, Deir Muqrin and Deir Qanoun in Wadi Barada.