Turkey, Syria to build dam on border; hydropower likely

Turkey and Syria have agreed to build a dam together along their shared border and will decide on details of the project in May, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said April 4.

Guler told reporters the dam project had come up during a visit by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials to Damascus.

He said the two countries would have an equal stake in the �dam of friendship� on the Orontes River.

“The dam will be right on the border,� the minister said. �There will be equal volumes of water on the two sides… Both parties have proposals on the location which we will assess.”

Although the dam is likely to include hydropower, the details will only be decided upon in May.

The use of scarce water resources in the Middle East has in the past been a source of tension between countries in the region.

“We have taken important steps forward regarding the usage of water,� Guler said. �At the moment, topographic assessments are being carried out. Technical teams from Syria and Turkey will take up these issues next month.”

The latest comments are a fresh indication of closer cooperation between the two countries. In November, the Turkish Energy Ministry said Syria had sent a letter expressing interest in receiving Iranian natural gas via Turkish pipelines.

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