Skip to main content

Turkish attacks cut water supply to Syrian province

Shelling by Turkey in northeastern Syria has damaged the main water station supplying Hasakah province, where thousands of people, including many fleeing the Turkish invasion to the north, are at risk of not having safe drinking water.

Civilians in Hasakah are running out of water more than a week after Turkish forces shelled the province's main pumping station, near Ras al-Ain (Sri Canet). The United Nations is negotiating with Ankara to allow repairs to the Aluk drinking water station, which officials of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (Rojava) said Turkey targeted Oct. 10 with 10 shells. Three of the explosives fell on the station's pumping hall and hit power supply lines, knocking the plant offline.

Hasakah's Directorate of Water has warned that the water supply allocated for emergencies is running low. In addition to Hasakah residents, displaced people fleeing Turkish artillery and aerial bombardment of border areas are also being affected by the lack of water.

“We have been without water for four days,” Ibrahim Sheikho, who fled to Hasakah from Qamishli after the Turkish attack began, told Al-Monitor. “The people have complained and tried to get the attention of international organizations, but to no avail.”

“We are bringing salt water, which is not safe to drink and is harmful to children as well,” Sheikho added, 

Suzdar Ahmed, co-director of the water directorate, told Al-Monitor, “We estimate that over 800,000 residents, including displaced people in the camps, benefit from the Aluk station.” She added, “Large numbers of displaced people have arrived in Hasakah, so water needs here have increased.”

The plant serves Tall Tamr, Hasakah, Hawl, Shaddadi, Arisha and Markadah in addition to the displacement camps in Hawl and Arisha. Ahmed said that her directorate has been distributing water from tanks after obtaining it from wells in the Tell Brak area.

Ahmed warned that because the Aluk station is the only significant water source in the area, nearly 1 million civilians might soon lose access to drinkable water. “The plant is fed by 30 wells distributed along 6 kilometers [3.7 miles] along the Syrian-Turkish border,” she explained.

The water directorate has appealed to international humanitarian organizations to provide safe passage for workers to reach the Aluk station to fix the supply lines and re-pump water to Hasakah city and all the other areas the plant feeds. Maintenance teams have managed to make a few repairs at the plant and to deliver some water to the city, but the fighting and shelling persist around the area.

Hasakah resident Mahmoud Khalaf confirmed the situation conveyed to Al-Monitor, stating, “The water has been cut off from most of the city since the Turkish army targeted the plant. Water needs have increased with the arrival of thousands of displaced people from border areas, and so far there is no solution in sight.”

Khalaf added, “We were promised water, but supplies were minimal and slow. The existing water isn't safe to drink.”

Turkey has targeted civilian water and electricity sources in the past. In March 2018, Turkish forces shelled the Aluk station, cutting water to Hasakah city and the surrounding countryside. In another incident, in May that year, Turkish border guards fired shots at workers who were trying to fix the plant at the Hilaliya water station in Qamishli after an electrical failure, injuring several workers.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial