Fighting puts Syria ISIS-held dam out of service

2017-03-26 22:08
ISIS members (File, AP)

ISIS members (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beirut - Fighting at a dam held by the Islamic State jihadist group in northern Syria put it out of service Sunday, risking dangerous rising water levels, a technical source told AFP.

A Kurdish-Arab alliance known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is battling to take Tabqa dam and nearby Tabqa town from ISIS before advancing on the jihadist group's de facto Syrian capital Raqa.

But a source at the dam told AFP that the fighting had damaged its power station, forcing a halt to operations on Sunday.

"Shelling on the area... that supplies that dam with electricity has put it out of service," the source said.

"The work needed to fix the problem is not possible because there is not sufficient staff available as a result of the intensive shelling in the area of the dam," he added.

"If the problem is not fixed, it will begin to pose a danger to the dam."

The source could not confirm what kind of shelling damaged the power station, but there has been heavy fighting nearby as well as air raids by the US-led coalition against ISIS in support of SDF fighters in the area.

SDF spokesperson Talal Sello insisted there was no imminent danger to the dam, which is Syria's largest and sits on the Euphrates river.

"There have been no air strikes on the dam," he told AFP.

SDF forces were helicoptered behind ISIS lines last week by US forces to begin their assault on the dam, which is around 55 km west of Raqa.

"We carried out this operation to land there to avoid shelling or damage to the dam," Sello said.

SDF fighters reached one of the entrances of the dam on Friday, battling ISIS in clashes in which jihadists had been killed and wounded.

But the dam remains under ISIS control, with SDF progress being hampered by the exposed nature of the terrain, which is also heavily mined, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

IS issued warnings through its propaganda agency Amaq warning the dam "is threatened with collapse at any moment because of American strikes and a large rise in water levels."

But the source at the dam told AFP there had not yet been significant water level increases, though he acknowledged levels would rise if the facility remained out of service.

Earlier this month, the UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA said water levels in the Euphrates had risen 10 m since late January, in part from heavy rainfall and snow.

But it warned that damage to the dam "could lead to massive scale flooding across Raqa and as far away as Deir Ezzor" province to the southeast.

Any further rises in the water level or damage to the Tabqa dam "would have catastrophic humanitarian implications in all areas downstream", the UN warned.

More than 320 000 people have been killed in Syria since its conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Read more on:    isis  |  syria

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!

Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.

 
 

Paws

WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
5 Celebrities who are afraid of animals
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.