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A Million Syrians Face Disaster from Turkey’s ‘Water War’

A Million Syrians Face Disaster from Turkey’s ‘Water War’

Tuesday, 19 January, 2021 - 07:30
Syrians at a displacement camp in al-Hasakeh. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Syria’s al-Hasakeh region is again suffering from a water shortage after Turkish forces stopped operations at the Allouk pumping water station on Saturday.

The disruption sparked a wave of popular outrage with rallies, organized by regime loyalists, taking to the streets.

Local sources said Turkey had stopped operations at the station on Saturday and prevented workers from entering it.

Allouk is the only source of drinking water for around a million people living in al-Hasakeh in northeastern Syria.

Operations there have frequently come to a halt due to Turkish shelling and power cuts.

The station had only resumed operating on December 17 after weeks of closure.

People took to the streets on Monday to protest the latest shut down. They condemned Turkish forces and their affiliated Syrian factions for cutting drinking water supplies to vast regions in northeastern Syria.

They also seized the opportunity to express their frustration with the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They demanded that the forces lift the siege on neighborhoods and areas held by the regime.

January has seen a wave of arrests between the Kurdish Asayish security forces and regime forces in the cities of al-Hasakeh and al-Qamishli, stoking tensions between the SDF and Damascus.

The shut down of the Allouk station will leave a million people and residents of displacement camps facing a catastrophe over their deprivation from drinking water.

The station is the main water supply to al-Hasakeh city and the surrounding areas, as well as three displacement camps, including al-Hol, which alone is home to 62,000 people. The other camps are Washokani with 12,000 refugees and al-Areesha with 13,000.

The International Committee for the Red Cross had last year expressed its concern over the repeated disruptions of water supplies in al-Hasakeh and the dire situation has been compounded with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

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