Access to Afrin Dam cut off by fighting in northwestern Syria

Afrin Dam, in northwestern Syria, is no longer supplying water to the nearby town of Afrin because of a change in control of the dam, also called 17 April Dam and Maydanki Dam.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, this change of control happened on March 7 as a result of fighting between Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham and the Syria Liberation Front.

Afrin, on the Afrin River, has been operating since 2004 and was built to provide drinking water, irrigation water and hydroelectric power. The powerhouse has a capacity of 25 MW.

According to UNOCHA, “Following a change in control over the 17th of April Dam north-east of Afrin town, local workers were unable to access the dam controls to pump water. The water supply has been cut off since 07 March.”

Reports have not indicated whether the facility is still providing electricity.

Afrin is certainly not the only dam considered strategic during such conflicts. Mosul Dam in Iraq is another example of a dam where fighting is ongoing, and an article in the January 2018 issue of Hydro Review provides significant background on this facility.

Additionally, at nearly the same time last year, the 824-MW Tabqa hydro project in Syria was forced out of service due to local fighting.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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