Syria's Afrin without water after Turkey forces capture dam

Syria's Afrin without water after Turkey forces capture dam
2 min read
14 March, 2018
The water supply to Syria's Afrin town has been cut off for a week after a change in control of a key dam, the United Nations has warned.
Turkey regards the YPG militia as a terror group [Getty]

The water supply to Syria's Afrin town has been cut off for a week after a change in control of a key dam, the United Nations has warned.

The UN office for humanitarian affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that people in besieged Kurdish enclave are now without a safe source of drinking water.

"Civilians in Afrin town are currently relying on six boreholes whose water is not chlorinated, which puts civilians at risk of contracting waterborne diseases," the statement said.

It added that local workers were unable to access the dam controls to pump water after Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels took control of Afrin dam last week.

The warned that humanitarian situation in Afrin is exacerbated as the Turkish military and its allies have almost entirely encircled the town after making recent large advances.

"Reports indicate that people are seeking refuge in basement accommodation, and there are protection concerns with people living in such close quarters," the UN said.

Ankara and allied Syrian rebels have waged an offensive against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who control the Afrin enclave, since January 20.

The enclave is bordered to the north and west by Turkey but also lies adjacent to government-controlled Syrian territory.

Around 350,000 people live in the city, including families displaced from other parts of the enclave.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he hoped that Afrin would fall by the evening to pro-Ankara forces surrounding it.

A top Kurdish official responded that Turkish hopes of overrunning the town "daydream."

"It sounds like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is daydreaming when he says Afrin will fall tonight," said Redur Khalil, a senior YPG official.

Turkey regards the YPG militia as a terror group and a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged a deadly insurgency on Turkish soil for three decades.

Pro-Syrian government forces close to Afrin shelled Turkish positions in northern Syria on Wednesday in response to a Turkish airstrike that killed five of their fighters, Reuters reported.