The Islamic terrorist group ISIS is reducing the water flowing into Iraq’s Anbar province as the government is trying to retake land from the terrorists.
The tactic is not new to Middle East conflicts. ISIS had previously restricted water flowing through the ISIS controlled town of Fallujah but reopened locks after residents complained about the lack of water.
Anbar Provincial Council Member Taha Abdul-Ghani told the Associated Press the terrorists are blocking water at a dam on the Euphrates river that will dry up irrigation system and water treatment plans for the government and tribes that are opposed to ISIS. Other areas to the south and central areas of the country would be provided water from the Tigris River.
The United Nations quickly condemned the terrorist’s actions.
“The use of water as a tool of war is to be condemned in no uncertain terms,” the spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters. “These kinds of reports are disturbing, to say the least.”
He said the U.N. would work to bring water to the impacted residents of the region.
Military experts say the withdrawl of water also lowers the level of the river to where terrorists would be able to walk across, allowing for attacks in locations that previously had been impeded by the water.
Residents of Habbaniya, Husaybah and Khalidiyah have been fleeing out of fear of an assault by the terrorists.