(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Saudi regime has completely destroyed an ancient neighborhood of Shiite-populated town of Awamiyah, in the country's Eastern Province.
Secretariat of mainly Shiite-populated Eastern Province’s said on Tuesday al-Musawara neighborhood, the old district of 400-year-old Awamiyah town, has been fully demolished in preparation for the commencement of removal work.
Local reports claim that some 60 bulldozers were engaged in the operations.
Awamiyah, having a population of 30,000 people, has been surrounded by siege barricades put up by the Saudi security services since attempts to evict residents turned violent on 10 May.
Wahhabi Saudi authorities justify the clampdown as a “security campaign” against the gunmen there, and use it as a pretext to launch almost daily attacks against the town, destroying residential areas, setting fire to buildings, and reportedly threatening the residents to either leave or face potentially deadly swoops.
Awamiyah is the hometown of outspoken Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed by the Al Saud regime on 2 January 2016. The stunning execution drew condemnation and protests throughout the Middle East.
After weeks of media blackout, Saudi regime has recently allowed foreign journalists witness the destruction wrought on the town. Since July 26, they said, Saudi authorities have prevented emergency services from reaching the wounded and failed to provide humanitarian assistance to trapped Awamiyah citizens.
Citing estimates by locals, Reuters reported that at least 20,000 people had either fled or been forcefully evacuated to neighboring towns since Riyadh’s crackdown began.
Adam Coogle, a Middle East (West Asia) researcher for Human Rights Watch told The Independent “I’ve documented conflict in Saudi Arabia before but nothing like this. I’ve seen protests, but nothing this militarized”.
“The details are thin on the ground but what is clear is there are heavy clashes going on between the state and its citizens in a Saudi city right now, and that’s pretty unprecedented.”
Many residents in Awamiyah are too afraid of shelling and snipers to leave their homes, despite the fact in many areas the water mains and electricity have been disconnected, leaving them without fresh water or air conditioning in the punishing summer heat.
Ambulances and sanitation vehicles have had difficulty accessing the town after being held up at checkpoints, contributing to the unlivable conditions, several reports say.