Official of Syria’s AANES warns of disaster due to Euphrates water drop

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – Official of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) warned on Wednesday of disastrous effects on the next agricultural season due to the dramatic drop in water levels on the Euphrates River.

Since the beginning of this year, the area has experienced low level of the Euphrates because Turkey has held Syria’s share of water, in addition to the drought that hit the area due to the low rain during last winter.

The flow of the Euphrates towards Syria is still low and it does not meet the needs of the region, Sheikh Nabi Khalil, head of the Operation and Irrigation Department in the Agriculture Committee of the Raqqa City Council, said.

The effects of the drop of the Euphrates River are still evident through the declining production of the seasons and the decline in the irrigated areas, in addition to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the irrigated areas in the region, Khalil added. 

The Agriculture and Irrigation Committee circulated to the heads of the Peasant Associations and the Farmers Union the need to commit to the Agricultural plan and take into consideration lack of water for irrigation, Khalil told North Press.

The Agriculture and Irrigation Committee in Raqqa adopts an agricultural plan based on dividing the irrigated agricultural areas at a rate of 65% for the winter season and 35% for the summer season out of a total area of 100,000 hectares.

Khalil did not rule out the decline in the irrigated areas in the future, and that the agricultural sector would face tragic future, and the consequent negative impact on the financial revenues of this sector, due to Turkey’s continued holding of Syria’s water share in addition to fears of lack of rainfall for this year.

The official called on the international bodies to pressure Turkey to abide by the agreement on the equitable distribution of the water of the Euphrates River, “and not weaponize water to pressure the residents of the Autonomous Administration areas.”

Turkey continues to violate an agreement with the Syrian government in 1987, which stipulates a steady flow of the Euphrates River at a quantity of 500 m³ per second, which has currently fallen below 200 m³. 

Reporting by Ammar Abdullatif