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Ja'afari: Turkish regime uses drinking water as a weapon of war against Hasaka citizens

Thursday, 27 August 2020
H.E. D. Bashar Ja'afari
Security Council




Mr. President,

Over the past years, some Governments of Member States of the Security Council have dealt with the humanitarian situation in my country with blatant selectivity. This selectivity has manifested itself and continues to be manifested by their politicized focus on certain areas to protect the remnants of the terrorist organizations that control them. This selectivity also aims at preventing the Syrian Arab Army and its allies from liberating them from terrorism. At the same time, those Governments deliberately overlooked the catastrophic humanitarian conditions experienced by the Syrians in other areas occupied by the American and Turkish forces and the crimes of their tools of proxy separatist militias and terrorist organizations.

I will be focusing in my statement today on the areas that were called in the deliberations of this Council as areas located in north-eastern Syria- and which have been dubbed by the US Administration as to areas east of the Euphrates. The suffering of these areas has not been limited to the affliction resulting from the criminal practices of the terrorist organization ISIS, nor as a result of the crimes of the illegal "International Coalition" that wreaked havoc and devastation in the region, paved the way for the occupation and the looting of Syria’s resources, such as oil, gas, antiquities, agricultural crops and others. Rather, the suffering of the Syrian people in these areas was exacerbated in quantity and quality as a result of the crimes of the American and Turkish occupation.

 Today, and for over twenty days now, more than a million Syrian civilian in Al-Hasaka city and its surrounding areas- in northeastern Syria- face thirst and water deprivation as the Turkish Regime continues committing its crimes, using water as a weapon of war to punish the people of the city, including women, children and the elderly, because they refuse occupation and hold on to their country.

With the blessing of the American Administration and its tools, the Turkish occupation forces and their proxies, have cut off the pumping of drinking water from Allouk station and the wells feeding it more than /16/ times and for varying periods, the last of which extended for more than twenty days, which caused the suffering of our people in al-Hasakah. This city has so far continued to suffer from thirst due to the extreme climate conditions and the health threats associated with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On behalf of the government of my country, I have addressed many relevant official letters to this Council, and to His Excellency the Secretary-General. Unfortunately, we have not seen from this Council any concrete steps to stop these prescribed atrocities and gross violations.

While we express our thanks and gratitude to His Excellency the Secretary-General for his prompt response and his good offices to end the suffering of our people in Hasakah and to ensure that drinking water is re-pumped to them urgently, we condemn the failure of the Turkish Regime and its tools to respond as promptly as required, and we deplore the positions of Mr. Lowcock, who is supposed to represent the human face of the United Nations. Mr. Lowcock – who instead of condemning the crimes of the Turkish occupation in his briefings - has previously, before this very same Council, thanked the Turkish regime for its facilitation of sending a technical team to repair the Alouk station, ignoring that the Turkish regime bombed the station and attacked its workers, expelling them, as it launched what was called “peace spring operation”, and that this station is a civilian facility that provides necessary drinking water to more than a million Syrian civilians, and that bombing it or cutting off its water supply is a barbaric act, a war crime and a crime against humanity under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions relating to the status of civilians in wartime. This crime requires urgent action from the United Nations to put an end to this occupation and end the suffering of the people of Hasakah from thirst and deprivation of water. I would have expected from Mr. Lowcock to head a humanitarian demonstration in front of the Turkish Permanent Mission protesting the deprivation of the Al-Hasaka city people of drinking water.

We have the right to ask: If Mr. Lowcock is biased and incapable of taking professional, objective and credible positions, why did the so-called Humanitarian Co-pen Holders in this Council not take action to hold sessions and adopt at least one presidential statement condemning Erdogan's targeting of the civilian Allouk water station and his use of water as a weapon to punish civilians?

These self-proclaimed-co-penholders, and those behind them, are clearly loyal to NATO and its aggressive policies that show zero respect for international law, the United Nations Charter, and human rights. Such disrespect has been demonstrated on an ongoing basis, as no voices were raised when the attacks of the American occupation forces caused severe damage to the Euphrates and Baath dams, energy and water plants, and the famous suspension bridge in Deir Ezzor, in addition to other civilian facilities. Also, their voices were not raised when- On march 27th, 2017-the illegitmate “coalition” airforce targeted a vehicle carrying a team of technicians who supervise the Euphrates Dam, and volunteers from the Syrian Red Crescent, when they were trying to reach the dam to repair the damage caused by the US bombing and prevent its collapse. This sinful attack led to the death of Firas Al-Hussein,a Syrian citizen who was a humanitarian volunteer in the Syrian Red Crescent, while the rest of the team were injured. None of my Western colleagues in this Council at the time, nor any other time- I don't have the time to innumerate them now-, uttered a single word about the American airforces targeting humanitarian workers.

Two days ago, the "International Coalition" acknowledged its responsibility for killing 1377 civilians during its hostilities, considering them as "collateral damage". Of course, the numbers exceed this number exponentially, but the matter will pass unnoticed as long as Germany and Belgium are the two entrusted humanitarian co-penholders in this Council. Therefore, international law has become like the gentle lamb whose care is entrusted to a herd of wolves.

Today, Erdogan commits these crimes in joint complicity to implement the Western project based on targeting and destroying civil and service structures and the institutions of the Syrian state. If you think our words do not show the reality on the ground, we challenge you to prove the opposite and take steps to hold the countries that occupy parts of my country accountable for their crimes against Syria and the region in general.

Mr. President,

The Syrian state and the Syrian humanitarian organizations have honorably assumed their responsibilities in the face of the Turkish regime's crime of cutting off drinking water to the residents of Al-Hasaka. Drinking water have been provided to our people there as much as possible, but the needs exceed all expectations and capabilities due to the Turkish and American occupations of the northern and eastern areas of Syria.

Syria warns of the continuation or recurrence of this disaster, and demands OCHA and the European Union countries and leaders to wake up from their irresponsible slumber and show respect for the moral and legal foundations on which this international organization is based.

Mr. President,

In continuation of the policies of some Governments hostile to my country, on August 24, 2020, terrorist organizations detonated the gas pipeline feeding the Syrian electric power stations, causing the occurrence of a general blackout all over Syria.

This terrorist attack, perpetrated by the terrorist groups supported by the American troops in Al- Tanf occupied area, is merly a link in the chain of economic terrorism that has become the dominant title of the current phase. This economic terrorism is practiced by some Governments of the Member States of this organization vis-à-vis my country by imposing unilateral coersive measures, including the so-called "Caesar Act", and the crimes that these governments commit directly or through their tools of separatist militias and terrorist organizations to plunder oil, gas, antiquities, wheat and agricultural crops and destroy civilian facilities and infrastructure.

All of these crimes aim to suffocate the Syrian citizen and deprive him of his basic needs of food, medicine, gas and electricity, obstructing the reconstruction process, preventing the return of the displaced, and exerting more pressure on the Syrian Government to make political concessions, especially since this terrorist bombing coincided with the commencement of the third round of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva.

I would like to draw your Council’s attention to a study published a few days ago by the "CANS New American Security Center" funded by the US Government. This study is by Nicholas Heras, a researcher at the center and previously in the Pentagon. It calls on Washington to weaponize wheat to starve civilians in Syria in order to reduce food supplies and pressure the Syrian government and Russia to make political concessions that serve US interests in the region. This twisted logic of using wheat as a weapon to punish civilians is consistent with Erdogan's use of water as a weapon to punish civilians.

Some of the Governments of the Member States of this Council have slaughtered international humanitarian law in their policies towards my country just as they slaughtered its biological father, that is, international law- before it. Nothing remains before your Council except the provisions of the Charter which a number of member states still uphold and defend. The question here is: Do you want the provisions of our Charter to fail this exam, too?.

Finally Mr. President, in response to what the US representative has stated about the situation in Al-Haul camp, we stress on the responsibility of the American administration, its terrorist militias, and some EU governments for the current situation in the camp. This is in light of the American occupation of that area and the refusal of some European governments to repatriate their thousands of semi-human trash who were sent illegally to my country as “terrorists without borders” and their families. We have demanded this over and over. SDF separatist militias that are proxies of the American occupation are trying to take advantage of the issue of inhabitants of Al-Haul camp to fain some sort of recognition, concluding suspicious cheap deals and using them as a political media blackmailing.  

Thank you, Mr. President.