HASAKAH, Syria — Co-Chair of the Local Administration and Municipalities Authority in the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria Joseph Lahdo confirmed that the DAA is undertaking alternative projects to provide water for Hasakah Canton and called on international parties to put an end to the violations of the Turkish occupation.
The current water crisis has been ongoing since 13 August when Turkey and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) cutoff water the region’s main source of water, the Alouk water station located in Turkish occupied territory.
In a press statement made back in March, UNICEF called for an end to the disruptions of the water supply from Alouk, warning of a humanitarian crisis in the spread of the coronavirus, stating that, “The interruption of water supply during the current efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease puts children and families at unacceptable risk.”
Turkey’s attempts to impose its will on the people of North and East Syria through water deprivation does not stop at the shutting-off of Alouk.
By restricting the flow through its upstream dams, Turkey has severely reduced the amount of water flowing in the Euphrates River to drought-like levels.
Turkey has repeatedly demanded that increased amounts of electricity be sent from Hasakah to the occupied territories of Tel Abyad and Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn).
In an interview with Kurdistan24, Syria-based researcher at the Rojava Information Center (RIC) Thomas McClure discussed the situation.
“Whatever the circumstances, neither [the DAA] nor the Syrian government should be … obliged to provide power to the Peace Spring area,” referring to territories Turkey invaded in October 2019.
According to McClure, the reduced flow of the Euphrates River has been causing power shortages.
“Key hydroelectric facilities like the Tishreen dam are delivering at only 25% of total capacity,” said McClure.
To restart the flow of water to Hasakah, Turkey is demanding that 70MW of electricity be routed to the occupied areas.
“This is almost the total capacity of Mabrouka power station, which must also deliver power to [DAA]-controlled regions with many times the population,” said McClure. “Turkish propaganda never mentions the fact that the Allouk station is not fed by Tishreen or Mabrouka, but by another smaller power station to the west.”
Lahdo put the blame for the current water crisis squarely on Turkey and its proxies. The DAA, said Lahdo, is currently looking for solutions to the crisis if Turkey does not restart the flow of water. “The DAA is seeking to prepare alternative projects to provide water,” said Lahdo. “Special workshops have been working to draw water from Al-Hamma lake, which will feed large parts of Al-Hasakah.”
According to Lahdo, 25 out of 100 wells will start pumping water within a week, while the other wells are still being worked on.
“Hundreds of water tankers belonging to the People’s Municipalities of the DAA in the Gozarto (Jazira) Region, in coordination with fire trucks, are working to provide water to the residents, for free.”
Lahdo called on the United Nations, the U.N. Security Council, and the U.S.-led International Coalition to find a solution to the Turkish occupation’s repeated violations against the peoples of the region.
Last weekend, it was reported that Russia had come to an agreement with Turkey to restart Alouk. However, no water has been pumped since the supposed agreement.
On Saturday, a delegation of the U.S. State Department met with representatives of DAA institutions Hasakah to discuss the two-week long crisis.
The DAA representatives called on the U.S. to intervene to solve the crisis. Their suggestion was met with approval by the U.S. delegation who promised to put pressure on the Turkish occupation to stop its criminal violations.
Despite U.S. officials saying they would discuss the situation to solve the water flow issue, no official condemnation has been issued from the White House.