Parts of Syria’s north where Kurds, Christians and Yazidis have practiced religious freedom in recent years are reportedly again under attack by mainly Turkish military and their allied Syrian Islamist fighters.
The Syrian Democratic Council, which oversees the autonomous northeast of Syria, condemned Turkey’s cutting off the water supply to the area’s main city, Hassakeh, for nearly four straight weeks. Humanitarian groups have repeatedly accused Turkey of “weaponizing water” since its military takeover of the region in October 2019.
The council warned that Turkey is risking hundreds of thousands of lives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and soaring temperatures.
“Turkey has cut off water from reaching the city of Hassakeh and the surrounding countryside, which is home to more than a million people. This is a crime against humanity,” Gabriel Shamoun, the council’s vice president, told Catholic News Service. A Syriac Christian, Shamoun is also Syriac Union Party official.
One resident, who only provided his first name, George, said wells on the outskirts of the city required about 12 days to fill up the reservoir, and only then could water be distributed. The man said he had already lost several relatives to COVID-19.
Turkey and its Syrian militant allies cut off the vital supply of water from the Alok pumping station Aug. 13 for the eighth time since they invaded and took over the Ras al-Ain area in October, observers said. They added that the measure is choking the inhabitants of the region’s main city, Hassakeh, with the hope of trying to force its inhabitants into submission.
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