The General Administration in northeastern Syria has held Turkey responsible for the lowering of water levels in the Euphrates River and accused Turkey of cutting its water resources.
The Euphrates River is the longest river in Southwest Asia with a total length of 2,800 km. It is held to be a significant resource by the governments of Turkey, Syria and Iraq and the peoples living in these countries. However, the river has been at the centre of heated discussions and geopolitical debates: recent water level shortages in Syria have led various Syrian authorities to accuse Turkey of manipulating the water flows.
Turkey has cut off the water supply on several previous occasions which started after the invasion of Afrin and Serekaniye by Turkey and its afiliated militias.
The Energy and Communication Committee of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) announced that the Euphrates River water level dropped to 5 metres. However, according to the agreement signed between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, Turkey has to allow 500 cubic meters of water per second into Syria. The low water levels have led to accusations that Turkey does not comply with this agreement.
In response to the latest water crisis facing Syria, Syria’s Minister of Water Resources, Tammam Raad, visited the province of Deir ez-Zor on Thursday to examine the water level of the Euphrates River. Raad appealed to Turkey ”to release the water flow quota that was established for Syria and Iraq, according to the agreement”, Hawar News reports.
The Syrian Minister stated that the water level of the river has dramatically decreased due to the cutting of water by the Turkish state. Raad appealed to the international community and appropriate organisations to take action to end the decreased flows of water into Syria from the Euphrates River, and to act to reinstate the appropriate flows that are due to Syria. “If this situation continues like this, it will affect the water of Raqqa, Dêrazor and Hesekê”, reported SANA agency which is affiliated with the Damascus government.
The water flow shortage is having a detrimental impact on agriculture, husbandry and the ecosystems of the region and people are having problems accessing fresh water due to the cuts. Turkey has previously been accused for using the water cuts as a ‘war tactic’ against the people of the region that are not under its control and influence