The recent detonation of bombs planted on several power line towers in the Daraa countryside by unknown armed groups has highlighted the lawlessness and chaos that now prevails in rebel-contrlled areas of the southern province.
Local activists told the Syrian Voice that the explosion of the towers, which are constructed out of steel, knocked them down and made them inoperational, cutting off power from the nearby villages.
According to a source in the local armed opposition, who preferred to remain anonymous, “several days ago an armed group set up some of the towers with an advanced system of explosives.”
The same source said that the groups weren’t trying to take town the powers to steal the as some local media reported, given that all of the parts still lie on the ground, but to hurt the local civilian’s quality of life, thus hurting local rebel groups’ popularity with the people.
Ahmed Hourani, a media activist in eastern Daraa countryside, told the Syrian Voice, said “an unknown group of armed men group blew up the towers in Eastern Daraa, cutting off power from local towns, and the towers and cables still lay on the ground.”
He added that “destroying these lines, which serve Eastern Daraa, completely cut off the electricity; there used to be four hours of electricity coming through a day.”
In western Daraa, five high-voltage towers near the city of Tafs were blown up by armed groups. The explosions cut off power to several towns in addition to several water pumping stations in the areas of Ashaari and al-Mazayrab, according to Zayd Ahmad, a civilian from the region.
Cutting off power from these pumping stations means the nearly 200,000 people in the both opposition and government-controlled parts of Daraa, as well as areas of the rebel controlled Western-countryside, need to find alternative sources of water. Residents now rely on buying tanks of of water, whose prices of doubled to nearly 3500 SP because of the spike in demand.
The pumping stations in Ashaari and Mazayrab, which can’t run on normal generators as they require special high voltage current to run. However, high voltage current can only come through transmission towers that run through regime-controlled territory.
Other local sources told the Syrian voice that the “un-announced deal” signed between rebels and the regime two years ago required that rebels allow the flow of water into regime-controlled Daraa in exchange for the regime providing limited electricity to the countryside.
The same opposition military source said that local opposition authorities have announced their intent to take the necessary follow-up steps, including nightly patrols, to prevent the targeting of public utilities and catch the groups responsible.
Providing another theory, the President of the Census Bureau in the city of Inkhel told the Syrian Voice that “the regime is using individuals with bad reputations and bad records who were in its prisons. They released them and are use them to carry out thefts and looting.”