Turkey’s seizure of Euphrates causes disaster: Agricultural engineers in Raqqa

RAQQA, Syria (North Press)-On Wednesday, agricultural engineers in Raqqa, north Syria, said that the drying up of agricultural lands has become a real danger threatening large areas in the regions irrigated by the Euphrates River.

Since February, the level of water of the Euphrates River and the lakes built behind the dams on the river in Syria has continued to decline.

The continued decline in the level of the Euphrates River will force irrigation stations out of service, which threatens to dry up large areas that used to be irrigated with the water of those stations, said Khalid al-Assaf, an agricultural engineer from Raqqa.

Irrigation projects in the area have been always the main agricultural artery, and cutting this artery will force the region’s residents to pay a heavy price, according to al-Assaf.

The area of irrigated land in Raqqa is 240,000 hectares, of which 90,000 hectares are irrigated through stations, according to the Irrigation Corporation in Raqqa.

The decrease in the level of the Euphrates will eliminate the “relative” food security that has been achieved during the last three years in northeast Syria, said Aya al-Hassan, an agricultural engineer.

What Turkey is doing in violation of the water rights of Syria and Iraq falls under a comprehensive war policy, through which Turkey works to dehydrate and starve their populations, al-Hassan added.

Agricultural lands in Raqqa need 90 cubic meters per second to be irrigated. “If this quantity is taken from  water stored in the Euphrates Lake, there will not be enough water resources to generate electricity and thus the irrigation stations will stop,” according to a previous statement by head of the Irrigation Corporation in Raqqa Sheikh Nabi Khalil to North Press.

Reporting by Ammar Abdullatif