Fears of coronavirus outbreak in Tal Tamr, northern Hasakah amid water shutoff by Turkey


Hasakah – North-Press Agency


Delsoz Youssef


The People’s Municipality of the Autonomous Administration in the town of Tal Tamr, 40 km northwest of Hasakah, is transporting water from a single drinkable well in the town's countryside after the Turkish military cut off the water supply from Alouk Water Plant in Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) countryside since last Saturday.


The suspension of water pumping from Alouk Water Plant by the Turkish military caused the cessation of drinking water again to the town of Tal Tamr and its countryside, in addition to the city of Hasakah, which prompted the municipalities to allocate tanks to provide for residents’ needs.


Zainab Ayo, co-chair of the municipality of Tal Tamr, told North Press that, “after it was cut off by Turkish occupation army, we started distributing water to the people. We transport water from a well in the village of Ain al-Abed, which is the only well suitable for drinking in the nearby villages.”    


“We have future plans to drill three standby wells in the area and link them directly to the drinking water network in Tal Tamr,” she added.    


Ayo pointed out that residents fear the emergence of coronavirus infections, amid their inability to abide by hygiene conditions due to the lack of water. “Epidemic prevention depends primarily on cleanliness, but addressing the virus cannot be done without water, so it is our duty to provide it in order to prevent the spread of the epidemic.”


Turkey cut off the water used for drinking and cleaning five days ago for nearly a million people in the countryside of Hasakah, in northeastern Syria. After the intervention of humanitarian organizations and Russian forces on Wednesday, the Turkish army re-pumped water for about an hour before cutting it again without revealing the reasons.


Despite the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warning last Monday that cutting water from Alouk Water Plant would cause a humanitarian disaster in light of the outbreak of coronavirus in the countries neighboring northeastern Syria, Turkey proceeded to cut the water anyways. This prompted the Autonomous Administration to start carrying out a project for providing drinking water to the residents of the area through the drilling of wells, according to the announcement by the Water Directorate of Hasakah during a press conference on Tuesday.


Alya al-Hammad, a resident of Tal Tamr, said that she had been unable to clean her house or to bathe her children for several days because of the lack of water, amid fears of the outbreak of coronavirus epidemic.


Abu Renas (pseudonym), a displaced person from the Afrin region who lives in the countryside of the town, said that he has been suffering from water shortages for five days, in light of fears of a coronavirus outbreak, saying: “We cannot prevent this virus without water and hygiene; what Turkey and its affiliated armed groups are doing is a crime against humanity.”

Abu Renas blames humanitarian organizations for not finding solutions to this crisis and putting an end to the Turkish violations against the peoples of the region.


On February 24, Turkey suspended the works of Alouk Water Plant and expelled the technicians working in it without explaining the reasons to the Russians, according to what the commander of the Russian forces in northeastern Syria told reporters on February 26, while it cut off the water for the second time this month.