Millions of people in Northern Syria have been left without water following John McCain’s unexpected visit to the region last month.
Senator McCain made a secret visit to Northern Syria at the end of February, which was followed by a meeting with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to reports, McCain requested that Turkey shut down the supply of water going into Northern Syria as part of a plan to undermine Syrian President Assad.
According to the Kurdish Hawar News Agency, Turkey cut water supplies to Syria around Feb. 23, which subsequently forced a hydroelectric plant at the Tishrin Dam to shut down while also significantly reducing water levels on its associated reservoir. The dam supplies both water and power to key parts of northern Syria, such as the city of Manbij and other parts of the predominantly Kurdish Kobani Canton.
The dam is one of several major dams along the Euphrates River. Just downstream from Tishrin lies the Tabqa Dam and its reservoir Lake Assad, which supplies Aleppo with most of its power and drinking water, as well as irrigation water for over 640,000 hectares (2,500 square miles) of farmland. A city official in Manbij told Hawar that the city would provide generator fuel to civilians to help cope with the blackout that has resulted from the river being cut off. The same official added that Turkey had “violated the international conventions of water and rivers energy by cutting off Euphrates water.”..