Protests hit northeast Syria as authorities announce two-week power cut amid sweltering heatwave
Syrian protesters blocked a main road in the country's northeast after the region's Kurdish-led authorities announced they will cut electricity for a fortnight to carry out maintenance at a gas station, according to reports Thursday.
The energy office for the Kurdish-led administration's Jazira region announced Wednesday there would be a power cut for all but "vital service facilities" starting that evening for 15 days, where temperatures are currently in the mid to low-40s.
The cut will allow for "necessary maintenance" to the Suwaidiyah Gas Processing Plant, which refines gas needed to produce electricity.
In response to the decision to cut off power as northeast Syria swelters in a hot summer, civilians blocked a section of the M4 highway between Al-Yaroubiah and Hasakah, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
Northeast Syria suffers from a chronic electricity shortage, with homes in the area typically receiving just four to six hours of grid power a day.
Hasakah province relies on two main sources for electricity - the Suwaidiyah plant, and a line from the Euphrates Dam.
Energy supplies from the dam line are unstable, with Euphrates River water levels too low for electricity production because of a combination of low rainfall, Turkey’s water-retention policies further upriver, and massive pumping of groundwater.
Kurdish-led authorities in northeast Syria are already on edge as Turkey has in recent weeks threatened to launch a new operation to take yet more of the territory they control.
The threats have sparked condemnation from allies of the Kurdish-led authorities, including senior US officials.
It comes amid a continued threat of violence from Islamic State group insurgents.