Turkey’s Reduction Of Khabur River Water Threatens Fishery In Syria’s Northeast

This report by Bassem Shweikh was published by North Press Agency on 15 May, 2022

Fishermen expressed on Sunday their concern over the increasing level of the pollution in the water of al-Basel Dam, south of Hasakah, northeast Syria, which led to the death of many fish.

The water level in the dam, which is supplied by the Khabur River, has decreased from about 640 million cubic meters to 120 million cubic meters, due to Turkey’s reduction of the Khabur River water, according to the Agriculture Committee.

The Khabur River is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syria. Although it originates in Turkey, the karstic springs around Ras al-Ayn are the river’s main source of water.

Fishing is considered a source of livelihood for the residents near al-Basel Dam.

Ahmed al-Ali, who is fisherman from the town of al-Arisha, is impatiently waiting for the hunting season to secure his daily living.

Al-Ali criticized Turkey’s cutting off of the river water that supplies the dam. The remaining water is no longer usable for agriculture. This has negatively affected farmers who mainly depend on the dam to irrigate their crops.

The dam irrigates nearly 200,000 acres, according to the Agriculture Committee in al-Shaddadi.

Ali Al-Khalaf, who is a fisherman from the village of Ajaja, south of Hasakah, said that “many types of fish have been lost, and many other species do not reproduce because the water is not suitable.”

The directorate of animal resources in the Jazira region bans fishing during the breeding season in rivers and dams, which starts from March to May, in order to preserve the fish stock.