Turkey drains northern Syria, pollutes its Euphrates: Report
A report reveals Turkey has been cutting off nearly half of the waters of the Euphrates it had agreed to release in 1987.
In northern and eastern Syria, food and water security are in danger due to Turkey's weaponization of the Euphrates river waters, a report published in the New Internationalist website under the name Turkey is Running Northern Syria Dry revealed on Monday.
The report underscored that "the plummeting level of the Euphrates, Syria’s longest river and one of the longest in the world, is causing power outages and water shortages in a region where agriculture is the main source of income."
According to the New Internationalist, the Euphrates river originates in Turkey, which controls nearly 90% of its water flow. The river runs through Syria toward Iraq and is the main supplier of water for farming and electricity production.
The website indicated that as per an agreement signed in 1987, Syria and Turkey share the Euphrates waters after Turkey agreed to allow 500 cubic meters of water per second to flow into Syria.
However, after 30 years, Ankara violated the treaty by gradually reducing the water supply to a worrying level since early 2021, which resulted in a decline in energy production and threatened the livelihoods of millions, the report underlined.
It added that Turkey has also been weaponizing water, as part of a wider assault against the region.
Ziyad Rustum, the co-chair of the Energy and Power Board (of the autonomous Kurdish Administration), said Turkey has been cutting off nearly half of the water it had agreed to release in 1987.
"We should receive 500 metre-cubed of water per second from Turkey, but at the moment it’s around 220-230 metre-cubed," Rustum noted.
The report also mentioned that through its own network of dams, Turkey can regulate the amount of water flown to Syria.
Rustum pointed out that when the Euphrates dam "was under control of the Syrian government it was always full. Water was flowing, electricity was produced and agriculture was practiced."
The New Internationalist highlighted that a common view in the region is that Turkey is deliberately polluting water released into Syria, citing the co-chair of the Euphrates dam as saying that "most of the water flowing from Turkey contains sand, cement residues and waste."
According to the report, contaminated water harms crops and puts at risk people's health, as several foods are now unsafe to consume.
"In the current situation, people cannot be selective and will still use this water to grow anything," Rustum concluded.
Read more: Iraq: Receding Euphrates levels unravel underwater ancient areas