Turkish seizure of Euphrates causes blackouts in Syria’s Hasakah

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – In light of the ongoing Turkish seizure of the water of the Euphrates River, Hassan Ahmed, a resident of northeast Syria’s Hasakah, is complaining about the high price of each ampere of electricity from generators.

Residents of Hasakah are witnessing several difficulties regarding electricity of generators, including price differences from one generator to another and frequent malfunctions or breakdowns of the machinery.

“We have been witnessing a power outage for about 15 days, so we mainly rely on electricity from generators,” Ahmed told North Press.

“When the exchange rate reached about 5,000 Syrian pounds (SYP) generator owners raised the ampere prices to 4,000 SYP,” he added.

High fares

“Now, though exchange rate is about 3,000 SYP, they are still taking 4,000 SYP each ampere,” he indicated.

Ahmed pointed out that they often do not operate the generator according to the scheduled eight hours, in addition to its days-long shutdowns due to malfunctions.

Each family subscribes for about six amperes at about 30,000 SYP for eight hours a day, according to Ahmed.

Generator owners attribute the high prices of ampere to costs of maintenance, engine oil, and malfunctions.

Meanwhile, generator owners obtain fuel at 75 SYP per liter.

“The municipality set the price of each amp at 4,000 SYP,” Ferhad Abdo, a generator owner in al-Aziziya neighborhood in Hasakah, said.

“Fuel is not well refined, and that costs us a lot to fix pumps and other pieces,” he told North Press.

Maintenance costs

“This is not to mention expenses for repair in the industrial zone, which force us to pay high amounts for engine dismantling and repair,” Abdo added.

“Each 15 days we change the engine oil at about 200,000 SYP, while people deal in dollars,” he elaborated.

Abdo called on the concerned authorities to provide better quality fuel and to monitor the prices of parts and repair in the industrial zone.

Electricity rationing

Further worsening the electricity situation, most of the turbines in the dams of Tishrin and Tabqa have stopped as a result of the Turkish seizure of the Euphrates water and increasing electricity rationing hours.

In late April, the Jazira Region Energy and Communications Office of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) announced that the work of the turbines to generate electricity will be limited to one turbine to feed mills and water stations.

The office indicated that the al-Suwaydiya generating station, in its current state, will be the only source to compensate for this shortage of electricity.

Warnings of a disaster

The Turkish seizure of the Euphrates River and deceasing water supply do not only affect electricity rationing, but may also cause a humanitarian and environmental disaster for residents, who rely on the Euphrates for drinking and watering their crops and livestock,” according to Azad Suleiman, head of Hasakah Directorate of Power Transmission and Distribution.

Suleiman pointed out that if Turkey does not release water supply from Jarabulus to flow into three dams in Syria, the Euphrates, Tishrin and al-Huriya, this will stop the only operating turbines completely.

He called on the UN, civil society organizations, human rights organizations, Russia, and the US-led Global Coalition to pressure Turkey to open the gates of the river and allow it to flow into Syria.

For more than three months, Turkey has limited the flow of the Euphrates into Syria, depriving large numbers of people of usable water. Turkey reduced the flow of water from the Euphrates River into northeast Syria’s dam gradually, reducing the amount of water received to unprecedented lows.

Turkey keeps water in six dams, the largest of which is Ataturk Dam, the second largest in the Middle East, with a storage capacity of 48 billion m³, violating the international agreement they signed with Syria in 1987 which stated that Syria’s share of water coming from Turkey should be no less than 500 m³ per second on average.

The water flow to the Euphrates River is now limited to less than 200 cubic meters, according to the General Administration of Dams in Northeastern Syria.

Reporting by Jindar Abdulqader