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Turkey starves Syria’s northeast of water as virus death toll mounts

Turkey has once again cut water supplies to the Hasakeh region of northeast Syria, and the autonomous administration says Ankara is risking hundreds of thousands of lives in the midst of the pandemic and soaring temperatures to placate Syrians living under Turkish occupation.
A displaced Syrian boy from Ras al-Ain, a border town controlled by Turkey and its Syrian proxies, fills jerrycans with water at the Washukanni camp in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on April 16, 2020. (Photo by Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP) (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
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The outcry over Turkey’s continued disruption of potable water supplies to the Hasakeh region of northeast Syria is growing louder. Humanitarian aid agencies and officials in the autonomous administration in northeast Syria say that Turkey is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk through its actions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and soaring summer temperatures.

Some 89 civil society organizations noted in a statement published today that Turkey and its Sunni rebel proxies had once again cut off the supply of water from the Alok pumping station near Ras al-Ain on Aug. 13. The station provides drinking water for around 800,000 residents and is also the main source of water for tankers supplying potable water to tens of thousands of internally displaced Syrians and Islamic State prisoners and their families. It was the eighth such stoppage since Turkey invaded Ras al-Ain in the wake of its military assault against US-backed Kurdish forces controlling the area in October 2019. Alok was rendered inoperable during the Turkish invasion and service has been only partially restored.

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