Russian-built bridge is the sole way to bring farm produce to Der Ezzour after the destruction of 12 bridges by US bombardments

The sole way to bring farm produce to Der Ezzour province is across the bridge which has been built by the Russian military, after the destruction of 12 bridges across the Euphrates by US bombardments, according to a report published yesterday by the Russian News Agency (TASS).

The agency quoted locals as that before the war there were twelve bridges across the Euphrates here. US-led coalition's bombardments have destroyed them all. Last year Russian military engineers built a 100-meter-long pontoon bridge near Der Ezzour, thus creating a vital link between communities the Euphrates separates.

"We have only one bridge left. Many people have relatives across the river. In the past we had no problems travelling either way. When the bridges were ruined, we stopped seeing each other," engineer Malik al-Omar, of Der Ezzour Province’s gubernatorial council, has told the agency.

Local farmer Abd al-Hai Shmayan recalls that when ISIS terrorists occupied the territory, he had to flee the area where his family had cultivated land for more than 150 years.

"As soon as the bandits left, we were able to get back to normal life and work. The Syrian soldiers and your [Russian — TASS] army have given us a chance to live calmly and earn a living," the farmer says. "I grow wheat and vegetables and plan to plant cotton."

The sole way to bring farm produce to Der Ezzour is across the ‘Russian bridge’, as local people are in the habit of calling the pontoon crossing created by the Russian military. "We go to Der Ezzour to sell our produce, such as beans, pepper and garlic. We make good money," says farmer Turkasyan Hamad, who has brought several dozen sacks of harvest in the back of his small truck.

The bridge provides a fast way for the local people to get to the city to handle their private affairs. "One of my kids has a sore throat, we are going to the hospital," says a local woman, Hamara, with two little kids — a three-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy — by her side. "It’s been very easy to move around since the bridge opened here."

According to the Russian Center for Reconciliation,  in recent years a total of 957 educational and 238 health service establishments have been restored, six automobile bridges and 1,300 kilometers of roads have been repaired, 1,200 kilometers of high voltage power lines, 199 water supply facilities, 315 bakeries, 776 power substations and 14,500 industrial enterprises have been set up.   

At the moment,  work is in progress to restore and repair 2,700 homes, 225 schools, 176 preschool childcare centers, 241 medical facilities, 203 bakeries, 203 power substations, 281 water pumps and 90 places of worship in ten provinces: Aleppo, Damascus, Der Ezzour, Lattakia, Hama, Homs, Daraa, Sweida, Quneitra and Raqqa.

Basma Qaddour