Turkey continues to cut off Euphrates water

The Turkish state has been cutting off the water flowing from the Euphrates for 30 months.

The cutting off of Syria's share of the Euphrates river water by Turkey began in 2017. Since then, the water has been cut off from time to time. But since 27 January 2021, the Turkish state has been cutting off the water systematically.

The Turkish state has been releasing only 200 cubic meters of water per second instead of 500 cubic meters. This violates the 1987 protocol between Syria and Turkey.

The level of the Euphrates has dropped a lot due to the water being cut off for 30 months. The lakes behind three dams on the Euphrates River in Syria, the largest of which is the Euphrates Dam at Tabqa, have decreased significantly.

While the Euphrates Dam reservoir holds 14.5 billion cubic meters of water, it has recently decreased by 4 billion cubic meters due to the decrease in water from South Kurdistan. The water released by the Turkish state is not sufficient to cover the needs for drinking water, irrigation and electricity generation in the region.

The Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria has called on international powers, the governments of Damascus and Iraq to put pressure on Turkey to act in accordance with international law and not steal Syria and Iraq's share of the Euphrates water. However, the governments of Damascus and Baghdad remain silent and do not take any stance against the Turkish state.

Recently, Syrian president, Bashar Assad, said during Iraqi Prime Minister Mihemed Shia Sudani's visit: "Some neighbouring countries supported terrorism and stole the waters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers."

Sudani stated that there are common obstacles between his country and Syria, but hopes for cooperation to ensure the fair sharing of water.

The Iraqi government had declared that the country's water reserves were empty and that water from Turkey, Syria and Iran was less than 70 percent of the previous share.

Every day in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis protest in front of the Turkish embassy against the closure of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and call for a boycott of Turkish ships. The demonstrators are also calling on their country's government to take action.

On 25 June, Iraqi President Ebduletif Rashid held neighbouring countries responsible for the water crisis in Iraq and said: "The water crisis is a result of clear reasons, including climate change and the actions of neighbouring countries."

On 18 July, Hisên Merdan, deputy chair of the Agriculture and Water Commission of the Iraqi Parliament, declared that the Turkish state is guilty of stealing Iraq's water.