Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ISIS blocking flow of the Euphrates water from Syria

ISIS blocking flow of the Euphrates water from Syria. (NowMedia).

BEIRUT – ISIS has been blocking the flow of the Euphrates River from Syria in a renewed bid to turn the vital waterway into a strategic weapon against the Iraqi government.

ISIS closed the Tabqa Dam in Syria almost a week ago, causing the water level of the Euphrates River to drop in Anbar’s towns,” a member of the Anbar Provincial Council said Sunday.

Hamid al-Dulaimi warned in an interview with Iraqi Kurdish Bas News that the closure poses a “disaster to Anbar and other provinces” in Iraq.

Meanwhile, a source close to ISIS told Al-Jazeera that the group was using its control over the dams to “put pressure on the Iraqi government as part of the open war between it and the group.”

As concerns rose in Iraq, one official called on the international coalition fighting ISIS to conduct air strikes against the dam, although any such move would threaten water storage and raise the potential of devastating downstream floods.

We call on the international coalition forces to strike one of the gates of the Tabqa Dam in Syria to allow water to flow into Iraq,” Anbar Provincial Council member Eid Ammash said in a statement carried by Iraqi broadcaster Sumaria News on September 5.

ISIS has already been using water as a weapon in Iraq, closing off gates in the Ramadi Dam along the Euphrates in early June to cut off water supplies to government controlled areas downstream.

ISIS controls the Tishreen Dam on the eastern edge of the Aleppo province as well as the Tabqa and Baath dams which are located further downstream on the Euphrates. All three dams produce hydroelectric power and regulate the flow of the river.

An engineer working at the Tabqa Dam told Al-Jazeera on Monday that the water stored in the dam’s Lake Assad reservoir has “reached its upper limit, which is 304 meters high.”Read the full story here.

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