The Daily Beast reports: Wadi Barada, Damascus, was once an area known for summer picnics, cool breezes and popular cafes. As a born Damascene, I went there regularly during the summer to attain relief from the scorching heat. My cousin, who now has four kids, even met his wife in Wadi Barada after the two of them happened to picnic near each other one lucky weekend.
But last week, as the bombs started falling, Wadi Barada turned into hell on earth.
Napalm, explosive barrels, and tank shells rained down and left dozens of civilians killed and wounded. Hospitals and other civilian infrastructural facilities were deliberately targeted. The result was not only a humanitarian catastrophe but also perhaps the worst environmental catastrophe of the entire war.
Let’s take California for a comparison. California is currently experiencing a historic water shortage, including nearly three years under a drought state of emergency. Homes and businesses have faced long-term water rationing that stands to be extended under the conservation plan released by state authorities last month. But at least in California, the state works to mitigate the crisis. In Syria, the state is the cause of it. [Continue reading…]