SYRIA: UNOCHA and Russian intervention restarts Alouk water station

HASAKHA, Syria – On Thursday evening, after an intervention by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Qamishli city, in addition to Russian efforts, water began flowing from Alouk water station in the Turkish occupied zone to Hasakah, Tel Tamr, and the surrounding villages and camps for displaced Syrians.

Alouk water station, located in the Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) countryside, has been purposefully deactivated for 11 days by the occupying Turkish military and Syrian National Army (SNA), a collection of militias, including several espousing Islamist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey, who invaded the region in October 2019.

Alouk provides drinking water for at least half-a-million civilians and was deactivated by the Turkish military and SNA in an attempt to put pressure on the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and force the allocation of electricity to occupied Rish Ayno.

Russian forces in the region had attempted to intervene several times but the Turkish side was not responsive.

An official source at the Gozarto (Jazira) Region Energy Directorate revealed that after holding several rounds of Russian-Turkish discussions, a compromise was agreed to in which the Alouk water station will restart operations provided that Rish Ayno is supplied with 20 megawatts of electricity.

According to the DAA Water Directorate, water was pumped immediately to the central and southern neighborhoods of Hasakah due to critical water shortages. However, the eastern and northern neighborhoods of the city are to be supplied later, after midnight on Thursday.

In a meeting held on Wednesday with journalists, the military leadership at the Russian base in Qamishli Airport criticized Turkey for its lack of commitment to its promises about operating Alouk station, despite a previous agreement between the two sides.

Alouk was previously shutdown twice during the Turkish invasion of Rish Ayno, Tel Abyad, and the surrounding countryside due to the damaging of power lines which feed the station.