Syria’s escalating water crisis has reached catastrophic levels as Turkey persists in deliberately disrupting the natural flow of the Euphrates River, leaving roughly 5 million people vulnerable to disease and famine.
Since January 2019, when Turkey first trapped water in its dams, the severe shortage of water has decimated agricultural production due to crop failures in northern Syria and has exacerbated the spread of diseases and epidemics such as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid fever. The number of fatalities resulting from these diseases has risen since the river dried up, underscoring the urgent need for immediate intervention, according to North Press Agency.
Turkey’s exploitation of the Euphrates water, in defiance of an UN-brokered water-sharing agreement, is rooted in its hostility towards the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and serves strategically as a tool of coercion against the Kurdish-led region.
Under the 1987 agreement signed with Syria and Iraq under UN supervision, Turkey had pledged to consistently release 500 cubic metres of water per second from the Euphrates River into Syria.
According to the UN, 54 out of 73 water stations along the Euphrates’ western bank have been significantly affected by perilously low water levels, leading to a dire shortage of drinking water in the governorates of Hasakah (Heseke), Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor (Dêrezor), and Aleppo (Heleb).