Home News In Photos: Catastrophe looms in Syria as Euphrates dwindles

In Photos: Catastrophe looms in Syria as Euphrates dwindles


Syria’s longest river used to move by his olive grove, however Khaled al-Khamees says it has now receded into the gap, parching his bushes and leaving his household with hardly a drop to drink.

“It’s as if we have been within the desert,” mentioned the 50-year-old farmer, standing on what final yr was the Euphrates riverbed.

“We’re considering of leaving as a result of there’s no water left to drink or irrigate the bushes.”

Help teams and engineers are warning of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in northeast Syria, the place waning river move is compounding woes after a decade of struggle.

They are saying plummeting water ranges at hydroelectric dams since January are threatening water and energy cutoffs for as much as 5 million Syrians, in the course of a coronavirus pandemic and financial disaster.

As drought grips the Mediterranean area, many within the Kurdish-held space are accusing neighbour and arch foe Turkey of weaponising water by tightening the faucet upstream, although a Turkish supply denied this.

Outdoors the village of Rumayleh the place al-Khamees lives, black irrigation hoses lay in dusty coils after the river receded to date it grew to become too costly to function the water pumps.

As an alternative, a lot nearer to the water’s edge, al-Khamees and neighbours have been busy planting corn and beans within the soil simply final yr submerged beneath the present.

The daddy of 12 mentioned he had not seen the river so far-off from the village in many years.

“The ladies should stroll 7km [4 miles] simply to get a bucket of water for his or her kids to drink,” he mentioned.

Reputed to have as soon as flown via the biblical Backyard of Eden, the Euphrates runs for nearly 2,800km (1,700 miles) throughout Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

In instances of rain, it gushes into northern Syria via the Turkish border and flows diagonally throughout the war-torn nation in the direction of Iraq.

Alongside its method, it irrigates swaths of land in Syria’s breadbasket and runs via three hydroelectric dams that present energy and ingesting water to hundreds of thousands.

However over the previous eight months, the river has contracted to a sliver, sucking treasured water out of reservoirs and growing the chance of dam generators grinding to a halt.

On the Tishrin Dam, the primary into which the river falls in Syria, director Hammoud al-Hadiyyeen described an “alarming” drop in water ranges not seen because the dam’s completion in 1999.

“It’s a humanitarian disaster,” he mentioned.