SHAFAQNA – Saudi regime has destroyed hundreds of houses in Awamiyah town in the country’s Eastern Province.
They said Saudi forces also flattened four mosques and three Husainiyahs or centers used to host Shiite mourning rituals.
Awamiyah – a 400-year-old town in the eastern Qatif province home to around 30,000 people – has been surrounded by siege barricades put up by the security services since attempts to evict residents turned violent on 10 May.
Since then, the situation has rapidly deteriorated. Locals report at least 25 people have been killed in shelling and sniper fire, and pictures of streets covered in rubble and sewage look more like a scene from Syria than an oil-rich Persian Gulf city.
Awamiyah is located in the Qatif region of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite-populated Eastern Province. The small town has, since 2011, been the center of anti-regime rallies, with the protesters calling for end to the kingdom’s discriminatory policies against the Shiites.
Foreign media are not allowed near the area, which means the world is reliant on heavily-controlled Saudi state media.
New York-based organization Human Rights Watch cited Awamiyah’s residents and activists as saying on Sunday that Saudi forces had encircled the town and sealed it off since July.
The al-Musawara neighborhood, Awamiyah’s old quarter, has been the hardest hit area in the crackdown. Also on Monday, local sources said a Saudi security personnel member was killed in the neighborhood.
The regime claims the security raids are meant to pave way for a wholesale “renovation” project aimed at boosting tourism and commerce in the town.
However, a Saudi trooper was filmed walking amid the ruins in al-Musawara pointing to the aftermath of the destruction and admitting that the operations were meant to obliterate the cradle of the anti-regime activism in the country.