Farmers in North and East Syria adopt alternative plans due to Turkish policy of water restrictions

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — Farmers in North and East Syria are beginning to feel the pinch of Turkey’s weaponization of water. The reduction of the flow of the Euphrates River coupled with a lack of rainfall, the agricultural sector has suffered a significant decline in crop cultivation which has led to increased suffering of the region’s residents. As a result, local administrations have resorted to launching several projects aimed at providing their markets with vegetables to encourage dependence on local crops and place symbolic profits on the crops.

A SuroyoTV correspondent in Tel Tamr covering these projects interviewed a farmer who spoke about the agricultural crisis and plans to help ease it.

“My name is Muhammad Saleh Hussein, a farmer from the town of Tel Tamr. Previously, we depended on the waters of the Khabur River for agriculture. We used to grow all kinds of crops when the Khabur was flowing. But now, after the Turkish occupation army cut off the water, we are in an agricultural crisis, followed by a weakness in buying and selling prices. It also the same, if we rely on crops that come from abroad, because they are expensive due to customs pricing and delivery service.

Thus, we resorted to alternative plans, such as relying on local agriculture and some small projects like digging wells and using generators for drip irrigation as an initial experiment.”

With the success of cultivating summer crops, farmers in Tel Tamr are also preparing for a winter harvest.

“Now, I am planting for the summer season,” said the farmer. “But we have prepared greenhouses to grow in the winter because the prices of local vegetables, if we sell them in the markets, will be lower than the vegetables that come from abroad.”

Hussein spoke about his work in agriculture and the land around Tel Tamr. “I am Kurdish,” he said, “and this land that I am working on is owned by my Syriac friend.”

“We have been working in agriculture for a long time, and we will stay here in our homeland even if they cut off our water,” he added, referring to Turkey’s policy of restricting the flow of water to North and East Syria. “We will continue our work in agriculture and develop it to serve society.”

“The Turkish policies will not discourage us,” he confirmed, hoping that all farmers in North and East Syria continue their work to avoid the high prices that would negatively affect everyone.