Syrian media reported that on 9 February, water from the Khabur tributary of the Euphrates River – which originates in Turkiye and flows around the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain into the Hasakah region – began rushing into northern Syria from the river’s Turkish side for the first time in seven years.
This comes as the rivers and dams of Syria’s predominantly US-occupied Jazira region, which lies in the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), witnessed an unprecedented rise in water levels following months of droughts and water scarcity.
“Water levels of the Khabur River rose as a result of the torrents descending from the valleys of Jabal Abdel Aziz and Wadi Shallah in the countryside of Ras al-Ain, and from the rise of water levels in its tributaries, which are the Jarjab and Zarkan rivers … The abundance of the Khabur River in the Tal Tamr area reached 15 cubic meters per second, following scarcity during the past three seasons,” the Director General of Water Resources in the Hasakah governorate, Abdel Aziz Amin, told Sputnik on 8 February.
According to officials, however, the rise in water levels is strictly due to recent heavy rains and not the 6 February earthquake, as some have rumored.
Amin added that the flooding of the rivers, particularly Khabur, is an important development that may enhance water availability in the region. However, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), countless winter crops in the Hasakah countryside were flooded and potentially destroyed, threatening food security in Syria, which is already at risk.
The flooding of these tributaries comes in the midst of a crisis across northern Syria, which has been caused by Ankara’s monopolization and weaponization of water accessibility, given that most of these river branches originate in Turkish territory.
Since 2019, Turkey and allied factions of the Syrian National Army (SNA) have been cutting the people of Hasakah off from water to put pressure on the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG). In August, Damascus began installing desalination plants to battle the severe shortages across Hasakah.
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The floods also come amid accusations, speculation, and theories that the Turkish dams and artificial lakes built by Ankara on the Euphrates River may have caused the earthquake.
Ebrahim Said, a geography professor at Damascus University, said following the quake that “the huge amount of water in the Atatürk Dam caused the earthquake, which collected 48 billion cubic meters of Euphrates water. This dam is a violation of nature and of the water rights of Iraq and Syria.”
Additionally, the deputy director of Iraq’s Seismological Center, Hasnain Jassim, said in the aftermath of the disaster: “Turkey has built 2,000 dams, reservoirs, and artificial lakes, some of which are near the epicenter of the earthquake … this is one of the reasons for the activation of the earth.”
mforinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/mforinoco/March 11, 2023
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