• Monday, October 23, 2023 at 8:59 PM
    Last Update : Monday, October 23, 2023 at 8:59 PM

Turkey’s Blocking of the Euphrates River Creates Water Crisis in Northern and Eastern Syria

(AWP) - Turkey’s withholding of the Euphrates River water is exacerbating the suffering of residents in northern and eastern Syria, who say that river water levels are declining every year, leading to numerous agricultural problems.

Decreasing water levels have also led to a shortage of drinking water, as well as the spread of diseases in the area.

"Every year the water recedes. It recedes by about 500 metres annually. Look at the water of the Euphrates River now; it’s about one kilometre away from us," Hamad al-Owaid, a local farmer, says.

Water resources expert Ahmed al-Ali confirms that receding water levels have caused a major problem with drinking water supplies and increased power outages in the city of Raqqa.

"The people of Raqqa depend on the water of the Euphrates River through pumps placed on the riverbanks, but there is significant pollution due to the decreasing water levels," he said.

Al-Ali added, "The decrease in water has also affected the hours of electricity rationing [causing power outages] because northern Syria derives electricity from dams on the river."

Raqqa residents blame Turkey for the receding water levels and say that the situation has increased pollution and exacerbated their suffering.

Raqqa resident, Mohammad al-Turki, said, "Turkey has openly cut off our water, and we only benefit from approximately 10 percent of the share that was allocated to Syria and Iraq. The decrease in the level of the Euphrates River has led to problems and the spread of diseases, and we are suffering greatly from this."

During his visit to Damascus in July, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, said that his country and Syria are both facing water shortages, as he called on upstream countries to guarantee fair shares of water for Iraq and Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad also mentioned discussing what he described as the "theft" of his country's and Iraq's share of the Euphrates River waters.