During a telephone conversation with Guterres on Friday, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari, warned about the catastrophic living conditions in the city of Hasakah and other neighborhoods, emphasizing that the water supply cut constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity.
Jaafari added that Turkish forces have been using water as a weapon against local residents, arguing that the troops in control of Allouk water station have cut off water supply to Hasakah and its countryside more than 15 times over the past few days.
The Syrian diplomat then expressed serious concerns over the “unbearable” situation in Hasakah amid scorching weather conditions and the coronavirus pandemic, hoping that the world body would intervene and stop the ongoing tragedy in Hasakah.
Guterres, for his part, said he is aware of the situation in Hasaka and that he has already tasked the UN team in Syria as well as UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, to adopt all necessary measures to resolve the matter quickly, and deliver humanitarian aid to all affected people until Allouk pumping station becomes operational again.
The UN chief noted that he will exert his best efforts by contacting the Turkish government and other relevant sides to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
Guterres went on to say he will task Pedersen with holding separate meetings with US, Russian and Turkish ambassadors in Geneva on Monday to discuss the issue.
On October 9, 2019, Turkish forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push Kurdish militants affiliated with the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the YPG, which is supported by the White House, as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Two week after the invasion began, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted the YPG had to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area. The patrols have come under attacks by militants ever since.