Turkish weaponization of water sparks health crisis in Hasakah, North and East Syria

HASAKAH, Syria — As the holiday season approaches and temperatures continue to drop, Turkey continues to jeopardize the lives of civilians in North and East Syria, manipulating water as a weapon to advance its agendas, leading to the displacement of communities from their cities and villages.

As concerns mount over a looming humanitarian disaster in Hasakah and its countryside, Turkey’s disruption of safe drinking water has resulted in a surge of poisoning and diarrhea cases among residents, according to a recent report.

The inability of many to afford the exorbitant prices of bottled water, coupled with the cutting off of water from the Alouk Pumping Station — under Turkish control since its invasion of the region in October 2019 — has intensified the crisis. The report highlights a significant increase in poisoning cases, underscoring the dire consequences of this water manipulation strategy.

Quoting local residents, the report shed light on the economic strain imposed by the water crisis, with the price of 5 barrels of water from tanks soaring to 25,000 Syrian Pounds. Additionally, the cost of 6 cans of mineral-filtered water reached 12,000 Syrian Pounds, rendering safe drinking water financially out of reach for many, resulting in a spike in intestinal diseases and infections.

Residents are urging concerned organizations and authorities to exert pressure on the Turkish government to restore the water supply from Alouk to the region. The situation has reached a critical point, with hospitals overwhelmed by cases involving children and the elderly suffering from kidney and intestinal diseases.

In response to the severity of the situation, the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES) has officially declared Hasakah, its countryside, and the displaced people’s camps in the area, as disaster zones, underscoring the urgency of addressing the water crisis imposed by Turkey.