Fighting puts ISIL-held dam out of service
BEIRUT - Agence France-PresseFighting at a dam held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria put it out of service yesterday, risking dangerous rising water levels, a technical source told AFP.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), mainly consisting of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia considered terrorists by Turkey, is battling to take Tabqa dam and nearby Tabqa town from ISIL before advancing on the group’s de facto Syrian capital Raqa.
But a source at the dam told AFP that the fighting had damaged its power station, forcing a halt to operations on Sunday.
“Shelling on the area... that supplies that dam with electricity has put it out of service,” the source said.
“The work needed to fix the problem is not possible because there is not sufficient staff available as a result of the intensive shelling in the area of the dam,” he added.
“If the problem is not fixed, it will begin to pose a danger to the dam.”
The source could not confirm what kind of shelling damaged the power station, but there has been heavy fighting nearby as well as air raids by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL in support of SDF in the area.
SDF spokesman Talal Sello insisted there was no imminent danger to the dam, which is Syria’s largest and sits on the Euphrates river.
“There have been no air strikes on the dam,” he told AFP.