Save the Tigris Campaign: Water cannot be used as a weapon of war

Save the Tigris Campaign issued a statement titled: "Water Must Not be Used as a Weapon of War: Refrain from Civilian and Environmental Harm in Northeast Syria!"

Save the Tigris Campaign recalled that "on 9 October Turkey started a military offensive in northeast Syria. A move which will have disastrous consequences for the region. This armed conflict will have a direct impact on populations, ecosystem and post-conflict recovery of the area. Concerns mount of a humanitarian catastrophe."

The statement added: "Water is at risk of being used as a weapon in this conflict. The first reports have appeared of the targeting of water infrastructure: Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) reported on 10 October that Bouzra Dam, providing water to the city of Derik, was targeted by Turkish warplanes. Other reports confirmed damages to civilian installations: water supplies to Heseke city have been interrupted due to damage of Alok water station, which serves 400,000 people in the area, according to OCHA."

The politicization of water in northeast Syria has been ongoing since the start of the Syrian conflict, said Save The Tigris Campaign adding: "This was evidenced in the past years by the deliberate disruption of water flows from transboundary rivers originating in Turkey."

The organisations recalled how "in past summers water flows to Syria were cut on various occasions, while the opening of Turkish dams caused the flooding of agricultural lands in Girê Spî and other areas as recently as last month. In addition, the GAP project in Southeastern Turkey, which includes Ilisu Dam and other dams to be-constructed on the Tigris River, would curb water flows into Syria and Iraq by as much as half."

The organisation called on "Turkey to immediately halt the invasion of northeast Syria".