A Syrian reconciliation official was shot dead after leaving a meeting with leaders of rebel groups in the Damascus Countryside Province.
The killing came a day after a deal was reached to restore water to the area.
Retired Brigadier General Ghadban was making his way back to the Syrian Arab Army’s front-lines when a sniper opened fire on his vehicle.
As a result of the attack, the truce has been broken, all peace talks in Wadi Barada have been suspended and the Syrian Army are to resume their siege on the final jihadist pocket in this rural area west of Damascus.
The assassination of Ahmad al-Ghadban, one of the coordinators of the reconciliation in the Wadi Barada area in Damascus Countryside Province, took place on Saturday evening, SANA reported, citing local sources.
The Syrian news agency added that Al-Ghadban was leaving a meeting with leaders of armed groups in Ayn al-Figeh village when he was shot dead.
According to Almasdar News, a sniper opened fire on his vehicle and, though no group has claimed responsibility, it is believed that the shooter was either a member of Ahrar Al-Sham or Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front).
Wadi Barada has become the most intense battlefront in the Syrian civil war, with fighting there ongoing despite the beginning of a truce brokered by Russia and Turkey in late December.
— Steve Bryant (@goyacobol) January 15, 2017
On Friday, Syrian rebels and the government reached a deal to restore water to the area. Water from the pumping station at Ain al-Fijah in the Wadi Barada area was cut by the Damascus Water Authority in late December, after it said militants had contaminated the source, the Barada River, with diesel fuel. As a result, more than five million people have been without water for more than two weeks.
The agreement has allowed engineers to enter the damaged pumping station, which could be repaired “within three days,” Alaa Ibrahim, the governor of Damascus Countryside Province, said.
According to Ibrahim, the agreement is part of a wider deal for a cessation in fighting in the Wadi Barada area, which would also involve some rebels leaving for other areas in Syria held by insurgents, and reaching a settlement with others who would remain in Wadi Barada.