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SYRIA: The Tabqa Dam Saga or War for Water

Tabqa Dam: On camera, the Kurds refused to discuss the US troops and asked RT to stop filming. Off camera, however the SDF fighters openly talked about how, for some time, the Americans have been alongside them on the frontlines in fighting ISIS. ~ RT

Steven Sahiounie
21st Century Wire

The dry desert sands of Eastern Syria were under threat to become a wet swamp, under millions of gallons of water.   Imagine people, houses, livestock, farms and crops swept away in the largest flood in the history of Syria, and the Middle East.  Think of the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, but on a much bigger scale.  Experts estimated the death toll might be close to 3 million people in both Iraq and Syria.

The Tabqa Dam controls 13 billion square meters of water in a lake, which derives its water from the Euphrates River. The dam is 60 meters high and 4.5 kilometers long and is the largest dam in Syria.  Its construction led to the creation of Lake Assad, Syria’s largest water reservoir. It was constructed between 1968 and 1973 with the help from the Soviet Union.

Russian officer, Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi of the General Staff said the US-led coalition hit the dam in Syria recently.  He asserted that the coalition was trying to “completely destroy critical infrastructure in Syria and complicate post-war reconstruction as much as possible.”   Rudskoi further explained that coalition jets had destroyed four bridges over the Euphrates River in Syria.

The main operations buildings for the dam along with its technicians are located on the southern bank controlled by ISIS, which occupied the area in December 2016. The US-led coalition is fighting ISIS; however, Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic are also fighting ISIS.  When there is a lack of coordination, based on differing political objectives, then chaos rules.

Nijm al Saleh, manager of the dam, appeared  on Syrian TV sounding the alarm.  He said engineers who used to work at the site have expressed doubt that the spillway could accommodate the water flow and have warned that the dam’s main gates are out of service, causing water levels to rise. US-led coalition airstrikes killed an engineer and another maintenance worker on March 27, 2017.

Aleppo is back to peace and safety, the terrorists are gone and people are trying to begin to rebuild their lives.  Displaced people are fast returning home to the streets of Aleppo, but they need water to sustain their rebuilding dreams.  The water of Aleppo is supplied from Tabqa Dam.  If that dam collapsed Aleppo would become a dry relic: the result of western regime change adventures imposed upon the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth.

Geo-political experts estimate 80 % of Syria’s oil production would be gone if the dam collapses.  Oil and water never mix: if there were a plan to destroy Syria’s infrastructure, the dam collapse would be the ultimate success.

The United Nations has warned that they would not be able to help the victims or those affected if the dam were to collapse.  The sheer scale of the disaster would be far overwhelming for their underfunded stores of supplies.  As UN Secretary General António Guterres once said, “Not always are the richest countries the most generous”.  Saudi Arabia has failed to meet their pledged donation for the victims of the Syrian conflict.

As the Syrian international conflict reached its hottest point, there was a threatened cooling off, as billions of cubic meters of water could have come gushing forth in the largest humanitarian disaster in 500 years.


In the last minute dash to save the Tabqa Dam, a crew of experienced, Syrian engineers and the Syrian Red Crescent arrived and managed to carry out repairs which returned the spillways to functioning capacity, and relieved the pressure on the dam.


READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files





Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue
Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue