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The electrical power situation in northern and eastern Syria

PDF Version. Available in Arabic


Syria remains one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world today, with ongoing hostilities claiming hundreds of thousands of lives, causing one of the most serious displacement crises in history, in addition to widespread destruction of the country's civilian and agricultural infrastructure, including its homes, schools, and water supply and irrigation facilities. There was a substantial amount of destruction associated with the electric power sector, which includes electric power transmission and generation stations, electric power transmission lines, and electric networks. Electric energy is essential to industrial, agricultural, and service operations in the region, and its availability has a direct impact on individual stability at home and at work.

In Syria in general and in the northern and eastern parts of it, electricity has been severely affected since 2011. For many, electricity has become a dream. The damage was caused by terrorist operations and attacks by Turkey, where power and distribution centers and transport towers were destroyed.

Turkey cut off the water flow to the Euphrates Dam, as a result of which it has been decommissioned.

Currently, northern and eastern Syria have access to less than 10% of the region's electricity needs, especially after people's displacement to Autonomous Administration controlled areas and the development of electricity-dependent industrial installations. Due to these damages, along with the loss of most of the electric-powered water wells, agricultural production declined, particularly wheat crops, resulting in a severe shortage of flour followed by a shortage of bread for the citizens.

Due to all of these factors, the electric power sector today requires immediate action in order to enhance stability and survival.

The challenges facing the electric power sector in northern and eastern Syria.

Among the challenges facing the electric power sector, we can distinguish two categories:

  1. As a result of discussions with officials in the Autonomous Administration, we determined that the infrastructure of this sector is dilapidated and nearing the end of its life span, from energy transmission carriers (towers and networks) to power generation turbines and distribution stations, as many of them have gone out of service, some of which require maintenance, and others are also unusable. As a result of the security challenges imposed upon the region due to terrorist groups, any development in the electricity sector is hindered and extends the catastrophic situation.

  2. During the armed conflict, the infrastructure was destroyed, and the intervention regionally and internationally made the situation worse. The Turkish army and its mercenary allies from the Syrian National Army destroyed the electricity infrastructure in northern and eastern Syria, including distribution stations, and occupying others such as Mabrouka power station, and cut off water to the Euphrates Dam. Despite the fact that this intervention took place within the international accounts and balances of the conflicting countries, the international coalition has not yet reached the level of commitment to contribute significantly to the revival of this sector.

  3. Turkey and its mercenary allies from the Syrian National Army destroyed the infrastructure of the electricity sector in northern and eastern Syria, blew up and occupied distribution stations such as the Mabrouka power station, and cut off water flow to the Euphrates Dam. The intervention relates to the international balances and accounts of the conflicting countries in the region, and the efforts of the international coalition have not reached the level that makes it a genuine contributor to the revitalization of this sector.

Autonomous Administration and power file considering the current reality:

Because of the extremely limited resources, the Autonomous Administration manages repairs and maintenance within its limited capabilities, and the large number of IDPs who have moved into Al-Jazeera has significantly increased electricity needs in the region. During the crisis, area electricity demands increased from 250 megawatts to 700 megawatts. Furthermore, the available energy supply barely covers 10% of the needed energy, and even within that little amount, there are frequent breakdowns, interruptions, and blackouts, and most of the available energy supply is used by hospitals, water pumping stations, and government service centers, with the rest rationed to the housing sector (one hour per day).

As the Autonomous Administrative Authority seeks to modernize this sector, it faces some challenges, but it is also affected by political decisions and the interests of individual countries. The consumption rate in the region ranged from 650 to 700 megawatts, before the crisis. Previously, the region was supplied by:

  • Al-Swidiah (the Electricity Corporation turbines) has a capacity of 125 MW and is linked to the Syrian public electric grid by a 230 kVA power line and is owned by the Syrian Ministry of Electricity.

  • The Al-Swidiah power generating station consists of 6 gas turbines with a combined capacity of 90 MW. It is owned by the Syrian Ministry of Oil. It feeds the oil wells, the gas plant, the villages connected to the oil well power lines, as well as the Rmelan labor city, and any surplus goes to the public network.

  • The remainder of power is provided for Al-Jazeera region via power lines connecting the provinces at 230 kVA power line, as those connecting Al-Hasakah with Deir Ezzor.

The capacity of power generating stations today, however, has significantly changed as follows:
  • At the Al-Swidiah generating station (Electricity Corporation turbines), only four turbines are operating with a combined capacity of 75 MW, and turbine No. 4 is currently out of service due to a malfunction in the generator rotor and thus requires electrical and mechanical spare parts.

  • Al-Swidiah power station consists of 6 gas turbines with a combined capacity of 75 MW. It is owned by the Syrian Ministry of Oil. of which 40 MW feeds the oil wells, the gas plant, the villages connected to the oil well power lines, as well as the Rmelan labor city. These turbines are old, and date back to 1970.

  • The Autonomous Administration has installed three gas turbines in Al-Shaddadi with a capacity of 15 MW to power the oil wells in Al-Jebsa oil fields, and the surplus energy is distributed throughout Al-Shaddadi and its surrounding countryside.

  • By using the /230/kva electric power line, the Euphrates River dams (Euphrates Dam - Tishreen Dam) generate an estimated amount of 10-40 megawatts of energy. However, the amount of power is highly dependent on the amount of water and the abundance of the river. In sum, Al-Jazeera's network is connected to the other Syrian governorates with an electrical connection, and as a result, Al-Jazeera receives 165 megawatts of power. A quantity like this is insufficient to meet the needs of the service and medical sector, schools, and health centers, where there are about 50 medical clinics without electricity, knowing that they contain vaccinations for children, corona vaccines, and others, all of which prompt the use of diesel generators in these clinics.

A table shows the technical condition of some power stations, all of which are now out of service and require rehabilitation and maintenance:

The station NameBeneficiary areaStation ratingInfrastructureMain Station


Station rating

Beneficiary area

The station Name

Out of service

20/66/230 kva

Al-Hasakah and its countryside

Main Station

Out of service

66/20 kva

Ras Alain and its countryside

Ras Alain

Out of service

20/66/230 kva

Tal Hamis and her countryside

Tal Hamis

Out of service

66/20 kva

​Al-Hol and its countryside

Al Mazra’a

Out of service

66/20 kva

Al-Hasakah countryside


Out of service

66/20 kva

Tel Hamis countryside

On Al-Roos

Out of service

66/20 kva

Al-Qamishli Countryside

Tal Ahmad

In the above table, 7 power plants are out of service, which caused pressure on other substations and resulted in malfunctions and a significant drop in tension, resulting in damage to subscribers' household appliances and electrical system disruptions. It prompted the use of alternative power solutions, such as diesel generators in the Al-Jazeera region, where there are 689 generators in the region with a capacity of 220 kVA, which operate 8 hours a day and consume (187,408) liters of diesel per day, causing the residents of Al-Jazeera region to spend between 642-645 USD monthly per generator.

In the Al-Jazeera region there are 1500 irrigation wells that run on electricity, most of which are out of service due to the power cut, as before the crisis there were (974,403) tons of wheat, while the current production does not exceed (354,238) tons. As a result of this deterioration, the wheat and flour crisis, and consequently the bread crisis, have been exacerbated.

Al-Jazeera estimates the region's flour need at 710 tons, while what is available is 510 tons, with an estimated deficit of about 200 tons per day because of electricity outages. Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor share the problem of sabotage of generation and distribution stations. Raqqa receives 201 megawatts from the Euphrates Dam, while Deir ez-Zor receives only 20 megawatts with rationing of about 1-2 hours within 24 hours.

Alternative energy (solar and wind) and sustainability.

Solar Energy: It was determined that there is no scientific and strategic study on solar energy or the development of plans and scientific studies on how to utilize it in an economical and scientifically viable manner through dialogue and discussion at the panel. Additionally, there are no laws or regulations governing the sale and installation of solar panels within the required technical specifications for economic feasibility, as it soon became apparent that the panels on the commercial market had poor performance and did not meet the intended purpose, and solar energy costs the consumer large sums of money and cannot be repaired. Currently, it cannot replace electricity produced by gas or diesel. Experts in this field have suggested setting up small solar power plants at the level of a small building, facility, or village. For large cities, it is currently not feasible.

Wind Power: The wind power system works when the wind speed is greater than 12 km/h, and giant wind turbines are expensive and difficult to install. Additionally, the turbines must be maintained continuously. In addition, there has been insufficient scientific study of the operation of this system in the region.

Based on what has been presented in this report regarding electrical energy, we can conclude:
  1. The total amount of energy supplied to northern and eastern Syria does not exceed 10% of the actual need, which is a dangerous indicator that threatens the stability of the population.

  2. The electric power sector needs to be separated from political and regional conflicts so that the people of the region can enjoy the right to electricity that is stipulated in the laws of the United Nations and human rights.

  3. International organizations and donor countries should take prompt action to repair and maintain power plants and transmission and distribution networks in northern and eastern Syria, in accordance with international law, from a security perspective.

  4. Pressure to the Turkish government to allow the Syrian people access to their share of the Euphrates River to provide electricity from the turbines of the Euphrates Dam in accordance with international laws and charters.

  5. A stable security environment should be the goal of the people of the region. It is the responsibility of the international community and the coalition forces to maintain the electricity and energy infrastructure. Providing a decent living to the people of the region should help bring the people of the region out of this darkness.

  6. Long-term loans should be provided to factory owners and farmers, and interest-free loans should be provided to citizens

Sources of statistics:

  1. Statistical Group 2011 Ministry of Agriculture.

  2. Statistical Group 2020 Ministry of Agriculture.

  3. Central Bureau of Statistics CBOS estimates for the year 2011.


  5. PEEG turbines.

  6. Syrian Petroleum Company SPC turbines


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