#Awamia_Siege: Saudi Regime Continues Displacing Citizens amid Heavy Crackdown
Hundreds of people have fled the Saudi town of Awamia in the Qatif eastern province where regime forces have been launching a heavy campaign targeting Shia population in the area.
The recent days have witnessed intensified bombings as Saudi military vehicles have been pounding Awamia's residential buildings and the regime's snipers have been stationed atop of roofs of the evacuated buildings to shoot every moving object there.
Meanwhile, basic services such as electricity have been shut down in the arid country, in an attempt to displace the entire Awami population.
Based on local reports, Saudi forces threw Shia citizens out of their homes and then torched their properties.
Awamia has witnessed renewed clashes between the military and residents since May, when Saudi forces began razing the town's old quarter, known as al-Mosawara.
Saudi authorities claim that Mosawara's narrow streets have become a hideout for militants suspected of being behind attacks on security forces in Eastern Province.
The UN, however, said Saudi Arabia was erasing cultural heritage and violating human rights through Mosawara's demolition.
Karima Bennoune, the UN special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, said Saudi authorities ignored repeated pleas by the world body to halt the destruction.
"These destructions erase the traces of this historic and lived cultural heritage and are clear violations of Saudi Arabia's obligations under international human rights law," Bennoune said, accusing the Saudi forces of "irreparably burning down" historic buildings and forcing residents to flee their homes.
Leilani Farha, the UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, also warned that the Saudi move "constitutes a forced eviction under international human rights law."
Additionally, Ali al-Dubisi, the head of the Berlin-based European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, said the Saudi forces were following a scorched-land policy in Awamia, launching rocket attacks and shelling residential buildings and civilians who are resisting Saudi pressures to evacuate.
Since February 2011, Saudi Arabia has stepped up security measures in Shia-dominated Eastern Province, as the area's population demanded free speech, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team