Fighting Pauses as Engineers Move to Fix Syria’s Tabqa Dam

Engineers Arrive at Contested Dam to Check After Reported US Strike

Several days of heavy fighting in and around the Syrian town of Tabqa have been paused today, as engineers arrive at the nearby hydroelectric dam to conduct inspections, and assess the condition of the aging structure, which was reportedly hit in a recent US airstrike.

There have been multiple reports in recent days that US strikes hit the Tabqa Dam, damaging the nearly 50-year-old structure, which was already at risk because of a high water level and because heavy fighting has prevented the usual upkeep.

ISIS has warned that the dam’s operating system does not appear to be working properly, and issued a statement a few days ago urging civilians to evacuate certain areas believed to be at risk in the event of a collapse. This came at the same time US-backed forces pushed into the area, and the US has insisted the dam is fine.

No one seems to be taking a chance, however, and when Syrian government engineers arrived, even though the dam is contested between two other factions, fighting stopped pretty much entirely, allowing the engineers to work in relative calm, assessing the situation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.