ISIS water war on Ramadi

Water supplies to Iraq’s Anbar compromised by self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The amount of water flowing to government-held areas in Iraq's western Anbar province has decreased drastically - a move that ISIS are using to impose pressure on Iraqi forces trying to recapture the province.

ISIS has gained control over Anbar and the province’s capital of Ramadi, Iraq’s second largest city, along with large swaths of land under their control in neighbouring Syria.

On Wednesday, ISIS militants closed the locks on a militant-held dam on the Euphrates River near Ramadi, reducing the flow downstream, thus threatening irrigation systems and water treatment plants in nearby areas controlled by troops and tribes opposed to the group.

If water levels drop significantly, ISIS militants could cross the Euphrates River on foot, according to Anbar councilman Taha Abdul-Ghani.

Residents in Khalidiya and Habaniya are reportedly suffering from shortages of drinking water and receive only two hours of water a day through their pipes because purification plants along the Euphrates river have all but shutdown due to already low water levels on account of the summer weather.

No impact has befallen the Shiite areas in central and southern Iraq, and water is being diverted to those areas from the Tigris River.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi pushed forward his case at a conference in Paris, calling for more support to fight the militant group, asking for more armament and ammunition. "We're relying on ourselves, but fighting is very hard this way," al-Abadi said before the conference on Tuesday.

ISIS militants took control over the Mosul Dam, which is the largest in Iraq, and threatened to flood Baghdad and other major cities, but Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by US air strikes later recaptured the facility.

TRTWorld and agencies