Suruc, Turkey – The Euphrates Dam, a model of devastation and destruction in Syria “exhausted and tired as its people, concerned about its future as a displaced child left alone,” with those words expressed an old man from Raqqa his sorrow about the dam which was exposed to shelling and paralyzed for months now, adding that it represents the deteriorating conditions in the areas surrounding the Euphrates river, mostly controlled by militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS).
“Calamities gathered on the people of Raqqa, as the Euphrates dried and its dam stopped operating, people went decades back, regretting their past and crying for their future,” the old man said.
“We did not imagine that darkness would prevail in the city (Raqqa) that has one of the largest dams in the region, which used to distribute electricity to large areas in Syria and neighboring countries. Unfortunately, the state of the great Euphrates Dam is the same as that of Syria,” he added.
Mohammed A., a resident of the city of Tabqa in the countryside of Raqqa, told ARA News “since the fall of the city of Tabqa in the hands of the Syrian opposition, the Euphrates Dam’s performance began to deteriorate, the control of IS over the area contributed to worsen the matter, especially since Turkey has cut off water almost entirely from the Euphrates stream, no longer abiding by the agreements, after the regime fell in northern Syria.”
An employee in the Electricity Company in Tabqa, who preferred anonymity, said that “Euphrates Dam was opened in the seventies of the last century with help of Russian expertise, and was a key nerve in the Syrian economy. In addition to producing electricity, irrigation canals branching from its large lake, allowed the reclamation of thousands of acres in the province of Raqqa and east Aleppo, which led to a significant rise of agriculture”.
“The Assad regime tried more than once to scare and terrify the Syrians by targeting the dam with ballistic missiles and air raids, but campaigns carried out by international organizations and Syrian activists deterred it. The dam’s destruction would decimate almost a quarter of Syria. The danger of such a disaster would go beyond the Syrian border to Al Anbar Governorate in Iraq, reaching the capital, Baghdad,” he added.
One of the dam’s former staff spoke to ARA News (under the condition of anonymity) saying: “It is noteworthy that the employees here are still receiving their salaries from the regime, despite the fact that the Islamic Group has had control of the province for more than a year.”
“The dam is currently in a miserable state. The spare parts were robbed along with other equipment by thieves and extremists, which disrupted the dam’s work,” he said.
According to observers, the situation in Raqqa in general, and the state of the Euphrates Dam in particular, will never get better as long as IS militants are in control over the area. “They are here to destroy not to build,” the former employee concluded.
Reporting by: Jan Ali
Source: ARA News
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