The Turkish state is perpetrating a war crime in North-East Syria

The Turkish state is perpetrating a war crime in North-East Syria. It has shut down the Alouk water station which supplies water to 460000 civilians in an area of North-East Syria known as the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria (AANES).

Turkey weaponizes water supply

This war crime in North-East Syria is not the first time the Turkish state has used water supply as a weapon of war against civilians. For a long time, Turkey has used the dams it controls along the Euphrates river to damage the ability of Kurdish farmers to grow and maintain crops. In Dersim, the Turkish redirected rivers, consequently vast tracts of land no longer support plants and animals. This has displaced thousands of people and risks permanent desertification. 

Access to water is a human right

The human right to water and sanitation (HRWAS) has been recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly since July 2010.

“The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.”

Furthermore, in the Madrid Rules of 1976, the International Law Association set forth specific prohibitions for the protection of civilian populations and the environment. These prohibitions are also referenced in The Geneva List of Principles on the Protection of Water Infrastructure;

“The diversion of waters for military purposes should be prohibited when it would cause disproportionate suffering to the civilian population or substantial damage to the ecological balance of the area concerned. A diversion that is carried out in order to damage or destroy the minimum conditions of survival of the civilian population or the basic ecological balance of the area concerned or in order to terrorize the population should be prohibited in any case.”

Commons motion

The Freedom for Öcalan campaign condemns this latest war crime in North-East Syria and supports the motion tabled in the UK parliament by the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on North-East Syria, Lloyd Russel-Moyle MP. The early day motion (EDM) is drawing attention to this and other war crimes in North-East Syria and has cross-party support from Chris Stephens (SNP), Jim Shannon (DUP) and Jeremy Corbyn (Labour). 

Weaponisation of water in Syria EDM #874

That this House is deeply concerned that Turkey has shut down the Alouk Water Station which supplies water to 460000 civilians in an area of North East Syria known as the Autonomous Administration of North-East Syria (AANES); notes that Turkish forces took over the Alouk Water Station in October during its so-called Peace Spring Operation and have shut it down on three occasions since causing immense suffering; is seriously concerned about the fate of the local civilian population, the displaced people from other parts of Syria and the inmates of camps holding the families of ISIS prisoners from around the world; further notes that water supply should not be subject to political and military strategy; and calls on the Foreign Secretary to intervene with his Turkish counterpart as a matter of urgency in order to avert a large scale humanitarian disaster.

EDM #874

Support this motion by writing to your MP and asking them to add their name to the list of signatories and for the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to answer questions on this in the commons. This issue must be debated and Turkeys latest war crime in North-East Syria must be challenged.

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