SuroyoTV interviews North and East Syria official about Turkey’s weaponization of water

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — An unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe may be witnessed in the regions of North and East Syria — home to some four million people — due to Turkey’s restrictions on the flow of water to the region in direction violation of an agreement it signed with the Syrian government in 1987.

The Euphrates River is nearly dry at many points. Water pumps as far south as Dayro Zcuro (Deir ez-Zor) no longer work because of low water levels.

Water levels as so low that the three hydroelectric dams — Tabqa, Tishrin, and First — that provide much of the region’s power have to alternate operation with only one turbine in use between the three dams. According to the Rojava Information Center, power output is between 80–100MW, a fraction of the dams’ usual 500MW.

Deputy Co-Chair of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria Badran Jia Kurd told SuroyoTV that Turkey has enacted a series of aggressive policies towards North and East Syria in order to undermine the gains made by the peoples of the region. The latest effort to undermine the democratic system in North and East Syria, said Kurd, was weaponizing water.

Kurd stated that cutting off the water from the region will only add to the crises plaguing the region. The region is already experiencing an agricultural crisis due to low rainfall and the sabotage of farmland by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) on top of a health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Turkish behavior is terroristic and similar to the Islamic State (ISIS),” added Kurd.

In response to a question from SuroyoTV about whether the U.S. intends to intervene on this issue, Kurd indicated that many projects have been proposed to the U.S.-led International Coalition, international institutions and organizations, the United Nations, and Russia.

“So far, there are no practical steps or conclusions drawn from those talks,” he declared, appealing to the whole world to pressure Turkey to stop its aggressive practices towards the region.

He also stressed that, although the DAA undertakes projects to enable it to provide part of the solution to depend on in the future, this cannot cover the existing strategic gap in resources of the region.