Human Rights Watch: Daramsuq and Ankara are responsible for cholera outbreak in North and East Syria

LONDON — Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on both the Syrian and Turkish governments to take responsibility for the cholera outbreak in North and East Syria due to their practices of cutting off health and water supplies to the region.

HRW attributed most of the blame for the outbreak on Turkey for reducing the flow of the Euphrates River and the cutting off of other water resources, such as from the Alouk Pumping Station, which has directly caused the cholera outbreak, which has been spreading in the country for about two months.

“Turkish authorities have failed to ensure an adequate water flow downstream into the Syrian portion of the Euphrates River and a continuous water supply from Alouk water station, a critical source of water located in Kurdish-controlled regions,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“This devastating cholera outbreak will not be the last waterborne disease to impact Syrians if the country’s severe water problems are not immediately addressed, particularly in northeast Syria,” said Adam Coogle, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch.

In its statement, HRW wrote that, “the long-term restrictions imposed by the Syrian government in [Daramsuq (Damascus)] on aid access have left health care facilities and humanitarian organizations operating in northeastern Syria struggling to cope with a disease that can spread rapidly.”