Middle East

Turkish troops, allied militants cut drinking water supply to northeastern Syria

Turkish military forces and allied Takfiri militants have cut off drinking water from a pumping station to thousands of people in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in the war-torn country.

The director general of Hasakah Water Company, Mahmoud al-Ukla, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Turkish troops and their allies forced the Allouk water station to stop work on Thursday, leaving the provincial capital city of Hasakah and areas in the western environs of the province without water.

Ukla added that his company, in cooperation with a number of humanitarian organizations, will transport water in tankers from a nearby source to local people to solve the water shortage problem.

This is the fifth time, since October last year, that Turkey-backed militants have targeted infrastructure of the said region in an effort to mount pressure on its inhabitants.

The Allouk water station is located near the border town of Ra’s al-Ayn, which Turkish troops and their allied militants seized in October 2019 during the so-called Peace Spring Operation to push militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

A Russian-Turkish memorandum of understanding, adopted on October 22 last year, has helped maintain relative calm in the area ever since.

On March 23, a United Nations official said interruption to the Allouk water station in Syria’s northeast puts thousands of lives at risk amid efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus there.

UNICEF Representative in Syria Fran Equiza said at the time that the interruption “during the current efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease puts children and families at unacceptable risk.”

He underlined that the station is the main source of water for around 460,000 people in Hasakah city, the town of Tal Tamer as well as al-Hol and Areesha camps.

On Wednesday, the Syrian Health Ministry recorded a new case of coronavirus infection, bringing the total number in the country to 45.

The ministry said in a statement that there have been 27 recoveries and three deaths from COVID-19 so far.

The first COVID-19 infection was reported in Syria on March 22, while the first death was recorded a week later.

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