Second-year in a row | Turkey continues to seize Syria’s share of Euphrates water
SOHR warns against looming humanitarian catastrophe as Turkey continues to seize Syria’s water share
As Turkish government continues to block the flow of Syria’s water share in Euphrates river for a second consecutive year, giving Syria only 200 cubic metres or less of water in some days and months instead of releasing 500 cubic metres as agreed between Syria and Turkey, and in light of the decline in water level, Al-Raqqah Agriculture Authority has called on farmers to resort to a new agricultural plan, which is to cultivate 25% of the land area of yellow maize.
The decline in water also caused the degradation of livestock and agriculture on the banks of the Euphrates River.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, renew our warning of an environmental catastrophe threatening food security in the Syrian Jazeera region and humanitarian crises which pose a threat to nearly two million and a half people in different areas in Al-Raqqah, Al-Hasakah, Deir Ezzor and Kobani.
On May 17, SOHR activists reported that the Turkish government continues to block the flow of Syria’s water share in Euphrates river which is the major source of water for drinking, irrigation and generating electricity.
The Turkish water seizure and subsequent drought of Euphrates river water in Deir Ezzor and other areas in north and east Syria have led to water pollution and the spread of rubbish on large spaces of the river, while the residents living in areas near the river are concerned bout a looming disaster.
It is worth noting that the decreased level of Euphrates river water threatens the summer crops which are irrigated with the river’s water in north-east Syria region, Deir Ezzor in particular.
In this context, the official responsible for the water affairs in Deir Ezzor commented on the issue of the decreased water level in Euphrates river, warning against a looming disaster. The official told SOHR, “problems have been detected in water stations and other problems which have affected farmlands and livestock. Four water stations on the western line have been put out of service; and they are Al-Kebar station, a grand station providing five villages with water supplies, Al-Saghir station and Al-Sa’wa station. People in these areas are struggling with the recent low level of water, as they need to buy water tanks for high prices, let alone the increasing pollution of the river’s water.”
The official also pointed out that the drought has badly impacted crops, especially summer crops such as vegetables and cotton, as they need water at this time of the season in order to ripen. The official has also appealed to the United Nations and humanitarian organisations to put an end to violations by Turkey which have deliberately blocked the flow of Syria’s water share in Euphrates river and to exert diligent efforts to solve this social, humanitarian and economic issue.
On the other hand, a 54-year-old farmer known as Taha Al-Ahmed from Deir Ezzor countryside told SOHR, “the decreased water level affects us greatly, as we live on farming, and we rely on the Euphrates river water for irrigation. If there were no water, we would not have settled in this region for ages. This season, wheat did not grow up as we could not provide it with needed amounts of water in the wake of the current crisis.”