United Nations silent over Turkey’s water cutoff to millions in northern Syria

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – The Drinking Water Directorate of Hasakah criticized the silence of the United Nations and humanitarian organizations on Monday regarding the Turkish army and Turkish-backed armed opposition groups continuing to cut off water to about one million people in Hasakah city and its countryside.

Nidal Mahmoud, the co-chair of the Directorate of Drinking Water in the city of Hasakah, described the continued suspension of the Alouk Water Station and the cutoff of drinking water from the city and its countryside as a humanitarian disaster.

Mahmoud added in an exclusive statement to North Press that Alouk Water Station is the lifeline for Hasakah governorate and its countryside as well as the IDP camps that it contains.

Since November 22, Turkish forces and the armed opposition groups have stopped the operation Alouk Water Station, though they claim that the Autonomous Administration cut off electricity to the station, which is connected through a power line from the city of Derbasiya.

“The cutting of water came in conjunction with the announcement of the stricken city of Hasakah with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic,” Mahmoud said.

He added that the UN Security Council, the United Nations, the Syrian government and the guarantors must intervene to stop the disaster in the city and its countryside.

He indicated that Turkey, in conjunction with the cut off of Alouk Water Station, reduces the flow of Syria’s share of the Euphrates River, which causes a decrease in electric power.

In August, Turkish forces stopped the operation of the Alouk Water Station, cutting off water to the city for about three weeks.

He stated that emergency alternatives are useless, and that there are no solutions except for operating the station, whose equipment was stolen by militants of the armed opposition groups.

He denied that the reason for the station’s stoppage was due to the Autonomous Administration cutting the power, expressing their willingness to present documents to any fact-finding commission that wants to know the truth of who stopped the operation of the station.

Human Rights Watch accused the Turkish authorities last March of failing to ensure water supplies, which harms the ability of humanitarian organizations to equip vulnerable communities to protect them in light of the spread of the coronavirus.

Mahmoud added that other areas of northeastern Syria have contributed to sending water tanks, and there are also promises to extend a water bridge to supply the city of Hasakah with water.

He considered all the current promises and measures to be urgent temporary matters to secure only the basic necessities for the residents of Hasakah.

Reporting by Jindar Abdulqader