A new Turkish aggression against Syria: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water

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Top: "The decrease in water levels" Bottom: "Tishrin Dam" (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

By: Suhaib Anjarini

Published Friday, May 30, 2014

The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.

Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar.

A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that water levels in the Lake Assad (a man-made water reservoir on the Euphrates) recently dropped by six meters from its normal levels (which means losing millions of cubic meters of water). The source warned that “a further drop of one additional meter would put the dam out of service.”

“We should cut off or reduce the water output of the dam, until the original problem regarding the blockage of the water supply is fixed,” the source explained.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) controlling the region the dam is located in did not suspend the water output. Employees of the General Institution of the Euphrates Dam are running the lake under the supervision of al-Qaeda linked ISIS, but they don’t have the authority to take serious decisions, such as reducing the water output. In addition, such a step is a mere attempt to ease the situation, and it will lose its efficacy if the water supply isn’t restored to the dam by Turkey.

The tragic repercussions of the new Turkish assault began to reveal themselves when water levels dropped in al-Khafsa in Aleppo’s eastern countryside (where a water pumping station from Lake Assad is located to pump water through water channels to Aleppo and its countryside).

Meanwhile, water supplies in auxiliary reservoirs in al-Khafsa are close to being depleted and the reservoirs are expected to run out of water completely by tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. This threatens to leave seven million Syrians without access to water. Also, Tishrin Dam stopped receiving any water which blocked its electricity generating turbines, decreasing the power supply in Aleppo and its countryside, further intensifying the already severe imbalance in the power supply.

In Raqqa, the northern side of Lake Assad is today completely out of service. Two million Syrians living in the region covering the villages of Little Swaydiya to the east until al-Jarniya to the west could lose their drinking water supply. “Losing water supplies in the dam means that the silt in the lake will dry off which would pressure its structure, subjecting it to fissures and eventually total collapse,” Al-Akhbar sources warned, adding “it is crucial to shut down the dam to stop its collapse.”

However, shutting down the dam (if ISIS agrees) will only lead to a human and ecological (zoological and agricultural) catastrophe in Syria and in Iraq.

According to information obtained by Al-Akhbar, Aleppo locals (who had already launched many initiatives to reach solutions for a number of local issues) began a race against time to recommend solutions for the problem, including putting the thermal plant at al-Safira back to work, which may convince ISIS to spare the Euphrates Dam turbines, and in turn preserve current water levels in the lake.

In case it succeeds, such a step would only rescue whatever water and structures are left, and would ward off further repercussions of the crisis that has already started. A halt to the water supply is now inevitable and can’t be resolved unless the Turkish government takes the decision to resume pumping Euphrates water.

In any case, it is worth mentioning that the water in the lake would take about a month, after resuming pumping, to return to its normal levels.

Top: "The decrease in water levels" Bottom: "Euphrates Dam" (Photo: Al-Akhbar)Top: "The decrease in water levels" Bottom: "Euphrates Dam" (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

A historical conflict

The Euphrates River has historically been at the center of a conflict between Turkey on the one hand and both Syria and Iraq on the other. Ankara insists on considering the Euphrates a “trans-boundary river” and not an “international river,” hence it is “not subject to international laws.” Also, Turkey is one of the only three countries in the world (along with China and Burundi) that opposed the Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1997.

In 1987, a temporary agreement between Syria and Turkey was signed to share the water supplies of the Euphrates during the period when the basin of the Ataturk Dam was being filled. In virtue of the agreement, Turkey pledged to provide an annual level of over 500 cubic meters of water a second on the Turkish-Syrian borders, until reaching a final agreement about sharing the water supplies of the river between the three countries. In 1994, Syria registered the agreement at the United Nations to guarantee the minimum amount of Iraq and Syria’s right to the water from the Euphrates River.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Where is Turkey storing all the water they cut off?

do not forget, Turkey opened its borders to million of Syrian refugees and has been spending millions for them.....so my friends stop accusing Turkey and be fair

Whats that got to do with cutting off water to millions of civilians?

do not forget, Turkey has also opened it's borders to terrorist groups with the likes of Al Nusra Front and Al Qaeda, providing them with shelter, training and armaments. If you want to be fair you have to consider all sides, and not ignore whatever doesn't agree with you...

Back in the sixties, Syria tried to block off the water going to the Sea of Galilee, thereby starving Israel of water and drying out the lake. Israel bombed the diversion works and fierce aerial battles were joined over the golan Heights. All this was stopped by the Six Day war. Now this tactic is coming full circle, the Turks blocking off the water to Syria and Iraq. So where is the Syrian airforce? Busy doing otrher things besides keeping the Syrians from death by dehydration. Heeding the challenge Israel set up major desalination plants and is now relatively immune to water crises. How about the Arab nations using the oil revenues to purchase desalination plants from the country best at it? not on your nellie!! They would rather bomb the desalinators than learn to to live and let live.


Turkey is arming moderates such as the FSA. Ankara isn't stupid enough to arm organizations that would gladly perpetrate terrorist acts on its soil, nor are the Turks stupid enough to piss off the US or Israel.

These unfounded allegations that Turkey is arming ISIS/Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda are nonsensical. The Turkish government will not act contrary to its own interests, and arming radical Islamist insurgents synonymous with beheading and crucifixion is very much contrary to those interests.

The lack of anything elsewhere to corroborate this article suggests it is incomplete. Most likely is that Turkey will make up later for temporary shortfalls as per its 1987 Protocol agreement with Syria.

Al Akhbar really you need to shut off comments on this site. Just leave the news. This is getting out of hand on this site.

ISRAELITES are the CHOSEN ONES - not those who live or bought land in modern ISRAEL now. Jews were ONLY TWO of the TEN TRIBES.

I like Turkish aggression in the region,
clearly killing one million Armenians was not enough,
than hitting on the Greeks, and Israel,
not to mentions thousands of Kurds,
now they are after the Syrians, who is next on their hit list?

Your are quite right. Turkey seems to become a country that supports terrorists towards its own, in their eyes, legitimate goals. Pray that this won´t come true.

Don't get confused..It's not the Apocalypse, The Euphrates is not drying out. There is a prophecy about this, exactly.. "When you hear that Turkish "cut' the Euphrates flow from above with dam, we are preparing for the Armagedon. 200.000.000 army will come from the East and the blonde genre, the Russians, will fight the Turkish".
These are the words of Father Paisios and it's a well known prophecy of all those people who love Paisios and study the books about him. Pray to God and return to His big hug. We are all His children, let's pray for our siblings all over the world.

General Betray-us, was presumably gloating about this triumph of his at the recent Copenhagen, Marriott Hotel, Bilderberg Conference.

Loads of Arms deals, and no-bid contracts on offer. who can blame him for cashing in on the total ignorance and stupidity of our elected leaders?

Imagine what would happen if Israel decided to choke the "Palestinian" chutzpah in Gaza by cutting off their water supply. All hell would break loose, with accusations of deliberately causing a humanitarian crisis against "poor innocents" and calls for sanctions, boycott and even military action against Israel. But when Turkey deliberately causes such a crisis in Syria and Iraq, that's fine. Nobody squeaks a peep in condemnation.

That's the extent of the moral legitimacy of "Israel bashing" - stinking hypocrisy at its finest.

The Zionists remain genocidal megalomaniacs who think they're the master race, regardless of any crimes committed by others.

they already have cut off a lot of water mediciene, read up on quality of life for palistinians

Why don't the arabs leave Israel the Jewish state and go to their own countries?

Why don't the Khazars go back to the Caucuses and stop pretending they are ISRAELITES. Ashkenazi are 90% non-ISRAELITES and have NO CLAIM TO ISRAEL. They are merely zionista tools who were lied to as they are Asiatic mongoloids according to their DNA. Got it? NOT ISRAELITES!

Palestine is the ancestral homeland of the Palestinian people, no one else. The Jewish interlopers are outsiders having no connection to the land of any kind.

In the book of revelation when the nations gather to attack lsrael..they will be stopped as they will turn and destroy each other...such is the islamic agenda..fractures between the son of Ishmael ..cracking and stopping their intent to
destroy God's holy chosen people..Israel...water..or oil /gas...or differing lslamic views WILL accomplish this... vancouver bc canada

What most people in the World don't realize, is that the Iraqi people ARE mostly "Christian!" They are "forced" to follow the CULT of Islam!!!

Can you document that?

Take note of Revelation 16:12 For those that don't have a Bible it is a 'Prophecy' "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great Euphrates River, and it dried up so that the kings of the east could march their armies westward without hindrance."

Revelation 16:12

Revelation16, vs 12 -15 sounds more likely with this story...

...one wonders the cost for Erdogan's "Project of the Century", to Turkey's neighbours, what with his desire to pipe water to Cyprus.

...one wonders if this is what he/Turkey means, as in "Pipelines to Peace", the original idea of almost thirty years ago, when in effect, this story began.

Good. Let them drink piss.

Revelation 16:12??? Very interesting.

There is a prophecy about this from a Great Orthodox monk who passed away in the '90's. It is about to begin a great war with 200.000.000 army from the East and the blonde genre will attack to Turkey.

Well Bible foretold it 2000 years ago, This means the Bible is the Truth, along with all the other prophecy's that have and are coming true stated in the HOLY BIBLE.

One big one is when Virgo gives Birth see my book I have calculated when the prophecy of Rev 12 v 1&2 will come true down to the minute.

The bible was written 3330 years ago.


In the Bible, it says at the end of the world the Euphrates will dry up.

Water is blue gold. With pollution and depletion of this precious resource, it is no surprise they say the next war will be over water.

I agree with you. WW3 will be about water, esp with the polar caps melting and opening up new maritime routes.

This is a criminal act. All the Arabs need to wake up. While they fight each other they give predators plenty of opportunity to destroy them.

Amazing article. Wow. Terrible. Pity the people.

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