Turkey is ignoring international calls to resume the water flow to the Kurdish-held areas of northeastern Syria. Instead, it is using the water flow as a weapon against the Kurdish leaders.

James Jeffrey, the United States envoy to Syria, was met with deaf ears in urging Ankara to turn the water back on. Simultaneously, the Russians, eager to win favor with the Kurdish people, have been attempting to build a water pipeline to bring water into an area that has been without water all summer. 

For now, the Kurdish civilians are being forced to rely on water trucks coming into the towns. Yet, these aren’t keeping up with the demand. And attempts to drill wells in the area have had limited success since most of the pumped water is not drinkable.

In October last year, Turkey and its Syrian proxy militias launched “Operation Peace Spring,” that targeted the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria. The SDF is mostly made up of members of the People’s Protection Units. They are considered a terror group by the Turks because of their connection to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (KPP), which has been backing an insurgency in Turkey since 1984.