HASAKAH, Syria — The Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria has announced delays in the completion of a water project that would draw water from further down the Euphrates River near Dayro Zcuro (Deir ez-Zor) and pump it to Hasakah city. The plan was put forward at the end of last year and would route water from the Sur Pumping Station to the Shaddadi Pumping Station. From there, it would be pumped to a station in the Hasakah countryside and eventually to the Aziziya Pumping Station in Hasakah city.
Suleiman Arab, Co-Chair of the Local Administration Authority of the DAA, told North Press Agency that they were having difficulty securing the necessary equipment for the project.
Arab added that the project was supposed to be completed by the end of March 2021, but because of the breakdowns and difficulties, there is a high probability that the completion of the project will be delayed until the end of April.
According to an earlier statement by the Gozarto (Jazira) Region Local Administration Authority, the project will cost about 1.5 million USD.
The project is being implemented by the Gozarto Executive Committee in coordination with a local organization that is funding the project.
In December, the Hasakah Canton Water Authority declared a state of emergency after Turkey cut off the city’s access to water once again.
In a press statement made back in March, UNICEF called for an end to the disruptions of the water supply from Alouk, warning of a humanitarian crisis in the spread of the coronavirus:
“The interruption of water supply during the current efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease puts children and families at unacceptable risk. Handwashing with soap is critical in the fight against COVID-19.
The station is the main source of water for around 460,000 people in al-Hasskeh city, Tal Tamer and the al-Hol and Areesha camps. Uninterrupted, reliable access to safe water is essential to ensure children and families in the area don’t have to resort to unsafe water sources.”
Alouk provides drinking water for at least half-a-million civilians and is routinely 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 as well as to stretch the limited resources of the DAA.
“This has led to a deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Hasakah, which is home to more than a million people, and is home to thousands of displaced people, and the situation is getting worse,” said Goreya.
In a July interview with SuroyoTV, Co-Chair of the Water Directorate for Hasakah Canton Sozdar Ahmed described the situation:
“The main water station is the Alouk station which belongs to Ras al-Ayn [Rish Ayno] and has been under the control of the Turkish factions since October 2019. This greatly affected the water situation, as water was cut off several times in the city of Hasakah due to targeting the station.”
Alouk has been purposefully deactivated multiple times by occupying Turkish forces. In a 17 February 2020 report published by PopularFront detailing Turkey’s targeting of water stations in North and East Syria, Kimberly Westenhiser wrote:
“Alouk was targeted by artillery and machine gun fire in April of 2017, when tensions between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia and the Turkish military escalated. The damage stopped operations for a 24-hour period before repairs could be made. This was followed by another strike in 2018, and another in July 2019, according to [Sozdar Ahmed].”
Shutting down Alouk isn’t the only means by which Turkey has weaponized water in its campaign to occupy and demographically change northern Syria. Turkey has severely reduced the amount of water flowing in the Euphrates River to drought-like levels by restricting the flow through its upstream dams.
In July, Co-Chair of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria Sanharib Barsoum stressed to SuroyoTV stressed that the drying of the Euphrates River threatens a humanitarian disasters and that Turkey is engaging in collective punishment against the people of North and East Syria.
In its war against the people of North and East Syria, Turkey has used water as a weapon, said Barsoum, stating that reducing the flow of the Euphrates is only the latest violation of Turkey in this regard.