BLOG: Dripping Empty

FILE -- This Aug. 31, 2016 file photo, provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), shows Syrian boys dive into a hole filled with water that was caused by a missile attack in the rebel-held neighborhood of Sheikh Saeed in Aleppo province, Syria. Residents in the rebel-held districts of Aleppo have a reprieve from the incessant bombings by Syrian government warplanes and the promise of an end to the crippling siege that has left produce stalls bare. (Aleppo Media Center via AP, File)
Monday, Sep 26, 2016 at 2:05 pm by Lianza Reyes

The recent events occurring in Aleppo have rocked and shaken the ground, literally and metaphorically. Every day, several bombs are dropped all over the city to the extreme extent that some structures of infrastructure and electricity have been excessively damaged. This has brought upon the most recent concern to over two million in danger: water system damage.

The damages were partly caused by the rivalry between the Western and Eastern parts of Aleppo. On Friday, September 23, airstrikes had interrupted reparation to a water pumping station in the Eastern part of the city, where rebels mostly controlled the area. To retaliate to this, another water pumping station in the government-controlled West was turned off. The war is no longer limited to only airstrikes and cutting off supply roads. It has started to affect even the most basic needs of trapped city residents. To simply keep up the score between the two sides, they have decided to compromise the well-being of the people.

One would think that the government would still do their best to deliver the public’s needs despite there being a rivalry against rebels. Instead, however, there has hardly been any action from them to maintain water or safety for residents. This brings up the question as to whether or not the government should put the needs of the people first before their position in war.

It’s understandable that a government would want to secure all bases to lead in a war, especially against people they might deem to be terrorists. But considering the specific circumstances in Aleppo, and all over Syria, it is worth noting that people are being injured and killed every day. They can barely afford to stay protected at all times of the day, and now they must shell out extra effort and money to obtain a basic life need. The price of 20 cubic meters of water has now risen to over 20,000 SP, or $130. Areas where wells are hosted have over 5,000 dependent families, with 75% of them being children. And considering the increase in damages due to airstrikes, many people may have lost their hold on their finances. Those living in poverty will likely have to resort to contaminated water that has been exposed to debris, dirt, and other materials from airstrikes and injuries. If the government is solely focused on defeating rebels and regaining control of the Eastern side of the city, then they may wind up with a near-empty city with sick residents.

These actions are overall considerably inhumane. The circumstances for Syria right now are complicated and dangerous. Despite efforts of the United States, it appears that a ceasefire will be unlikely. Surely, in the eyes of president Bashar al-Assad, a victory is the sole end goal. However, if the government starts to put its residents in danger to succeed and fails to correct its mistakes, then their actions begin to appear questionable and unethical. Why is it that the government cannot seem to help evacuate or place efforts in aid, and yet the White Helmets – the civilian disaster response team – can? One can almost say that the government has stopped paying attention to the death toll.

As the water supply in Aleppo is beginning to become dripping empty, and as the prices for drinking water likely rise, people must question the very unethical values that the Syrian government has been touting. Where is the representation for the people in these actions? And why have they failed to still help the numerous fallen of the city?

NOTE: This article represents the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of CitrusTV, its members, or Syracuse University.