Syria: Are water supplies being weaponized by Turkey?

Water outages in Syria’s northeast are often leaving around half a million people without potable water. Is Turkey using the outages as a weapon to destabilize the region, as some claim?


Around 1 million people are suffering from water outages in the Al-Hasakah region

Around 1 million people in the Kurdish-governed region of Al-Hasakah in Syria’s northeast have again had their water supply cut off — as they have around 20 times in the past 12 months. 

“This is a humanitarian disaster,” Sara Kayyali, a Syria researcher at Human Rights Watch, told DW. As of this Sunday, some parts of the region are experiencing the eighth straight day without water.

Problems with the supply from the nearest water station, Alouk, have been growing since Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel proxies took charge in October 2019, after the so-called Operation Peace Spring that targeted the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the region. While the water station has been under Turkish control since then, it relies on the SDF-controlled Mabrouka Electricity Station for its power. Turkey’s objective behind Operation Peace Spring was to create a 30-kilometer (19-mile) wide “safe zone” under Turkish control inside Syria.

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