Civilians targeted by Turkey tell of their living conditions without electricity and water

This report by Nûjiyan Adar was published by ANF English on 28 January, 2024

In large parts of Northern and Eastern Syria, the population’s supply of electricity, water and fuel has collapsed due to Turkish attacks. Women in Qamishlo talked about their living conditions.

More than 6,500 families live in the Qudurbeq district of Qamishlo. There are seven municipalities, eight bakeries and a school in the district. Electricity and water supplies have collapsed since Turkey’s last wave of attacks. ANF spoke to two women from Qudurbeq about their current living conditions.

Suheyla Şukri is a member of the PYD party and said that the Turkish state’s attacks are not only directed against one people, but against the entire population of the autonomous region of Northern and Eastern Syria. She said: “The infrastructure for electricity, water and fuel was attacked. There is neither electricity nor water in the houses. Hospitals and schools were bombed. Massacres are being carried out. People should be displaced, but we have thwarted this policy. Our people will never leave the land in which they were born and raised. Our living conditions may be difficult, and people are aware that things can become even more difficult. But their will is strong. After the attacks, we no longer have any water, but the local government supplies the population with water tankers. We will not give up our country even without water and bread. After the occupation of Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniye, we will not allow another city to be occupied. Our people have created a basis for their existence with their own resources and have gone through difficult processes to this day. The Turkish state is bombing the population’s livelihoods.”

Ill and scared children

Suheyla Şukri pointed out that there are children and the elderly in every family: “Water and fuel are a very serious problem. The cold weather is particularly difficult for children and older people. Many fell ill. The children are scared. School classes had to be suspended because schools are constantly being attacked. The children stay behind at school. Our old people already have more than one health problem. How will they live without a stove in this cold weather?”

The international powers are silent

Şukri added: “The Autonomous Administration has always supported the population. People also help each other. The peoples of Northern and Eastern Syria have seen through the policies of the Turkish state. People protect each other, they don’t leave anyone alone in difficult days. The international powers are silent because they are partners in the attacks carried out by the Turkish state. Institutions and organizations that supposedly defend human rights remain silent about the massacres of the population. The region’s infrastructure is the basis of people’s livelihoods. If the states present here remain silent, they should withdraw from our country. Our people do no harm to anyone. The people here just got their rights and want to live freely. Anyone who remains silent about this is no different from ISIS and is on their side. Our people must be united and fight on as one fist, with one voice.”

Behiye Hesen, who also lives in Qudurbeq, asked: “What damage have electricity, water, diesel oil, printing houses and bakeries caused to the Turkish state? The places that were attacked were the people’s livelihood. Now there is no electricity or water. Turkey calls itself muslim, but how is that compatible with Islam? Our neighbours are very old. We put in a new power line for them. This will stop when the diesel runs out. Our apartment gets electricity via a line from other neighbours. If they hadn’t shared their electricity with us, our lives would be much more difficult now. If Turkey was muslim, it would not attack people and leave them without food and water. How are people supposed to survive in cold weather without diesel? Anyone who still has diesel will use it all and will no longer be able to find fuel.”
Without diesel, there is no electricity and no well water

Hesen continued: “If we don’t keep our home clean and don’t shower, we get ill. Water is a source of life. Our neighbours have a well. To get water from the well, we rely on a generator. If the diesel runs out, things get very bad. There are many ill people. People who need dialysis treatment are in mortal danger. These people need clean water, and then the dialysis center was bombed. They cannot be treated. Our people are being killed.”

Either we die together or we live free together

Hesen added: “Shops are closed because they have no electricity. The tailor shops cannot work because of the electricity problem. Children cannot go to school. How are children supposed to know what war is? They constantly ask about school and don’t make any progress in their learning. They are scared because we basically live in the dark. They want to watch TV, but we can’t turn it on. The attacks have had a negative impact on children in every way. The Turkish state is targeting the entire population, children and the elderly. The Arab, Kurdish, Assyrian, Armenian and Circassian people will overcome these difficult days together. Our slogan is: Either we die together or we live free together. We have come together, we will not leave our country, even if we are thirsty or hungry, until we free our country from the mercenaries.”