On the 2nd of January 2022, the Al-Arshani water pumping station to the north of Idlib city came under attack, severely damaging the facility and cutting off water to at least 241,000 people.
The attack was reportedly carried out by Russian Sukhoi jets targeting infrastructure and economic assets, including farms and villages. The bombing raid was confirmed by Mark Cutts, the UN deputy regional coordinator for humanitarian affairs in Syria, as well as by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SHRN).
The SHRN stressed that the water station is located in a residential area free of any military presence or equipment. As such, the attack is an infringement of the Geneva Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure developed by the Geneva Water Hub. These principles seek, amongst others, to ensure the protection of water infrastructure and water-related infrastructure during armed conflicts The Al-Arshani water pumping station is the first and only pumping station for drinking water purposes in Idlib governorate.
The attack partially damaged buildings at the pumping site, severely damaged the main water supply pipeline, and damaged other essential equipment. More than 3 million people currently live in Idlib province, many of them internally displaced within Syria during the civil war. The majority of the population of Idlib is dependent on humanitarian assistance.