North and East Syria: International Water Forum concludes, denounces Turkey’s use of water as political weapon against population

HASAKAH, Syria – Deputy Co-Chair of the Executive Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria Joseph Lahdo gave information to SuroyoTV about the two-day International Water Forum held Hasakah, North and East Syria.

Joseph Lahdo (Syriac Union Party) said that such an important forum on the water crisis in the region is held for the first time. Lahdo explained that the situation in the city of Hasakah has turned into one of water deficit, because the water station that provides the city with water is under the control of the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries in Rish Ayno (Rash al-Ayn), and water is frequently cut off. He also indicated that the water deficit in North and East of Syria, and in Syria in general, has root causes in the last forty years in the policies of the Syrian Ba’ath regime.

Regarding possible solutions, Lahdo explained that sustainable strategy projects are developed to take water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, for the cities of Hasakah and Zalin (Qamishli). However, the project requires international and technical capabilities.

“The DAA will be able to implement the project in stages with international support,” he said. “Another project is digging wells in the water layers whose water is replenished, in Darbasiyah, Amuda, and Tel Brak.” If the projects are not realized and sustainable, only strong international pressure on Turkey will stop the war on water and hold Turkey from cutting off water from Euphrates and the Tigris. Lahdo also made reference to rationalizing drinking water or water for agriculture, especially under the current conditions.

The forum concluded with 20 proposals and recommendations. The most important were to the denounce the Turkish state’s policies in using water as a political weapon against the population and working to submit a general and comprehensive report to the bodies and organizations of the United Nations, the European Union, and international human rights and humanitarian organizations.

The final statement called on the international community to pressure the Turkish state to refrain from its policy and violations of (international) laws, in addition to assume its humanitarian duty in the region regarding the effects of water cuts and its impact on communities and refugee camps. The statement also addressed the DAA to solve water problems through dialogue and cooperation with the relevant authorities, such as Iraq and Syria, as well as international organizations and forces, because it is a humanitarian issue. It also called on the DAA to contribute to projects that support water sources, secure sustainable sources, and build small and medium dams on small rivers.