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Tabqa Dam Is On Verge Of Collapse According To ISIS

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Tabqa Dam Is On Verge Of Collapse According To ISIS

FILE IMAGE. Source: @RozanaFM/Twitter

The ISIS-linked media outlet “Amaq” reported that the Tabqa dam north of Raqqa is on the verge collapse after US airstrikes that took place last evening and this morning.

Tabqa Dam Is On Verge Of Collapse According To ISIS

A statement by Amaq

The organization claimed that a US airstrike targeted the electricity station that is part of the dam. As a result the dam went out of service and all of the dam’s gates shut automatically. The water level is increasing.

According to ISIS, maintenance crews are unable to reach the electric station because of intense artillery strikes.

A source among the dam workers informed Al-Mayadeen Channel that the dam was indeed closed because of damage suffered from airstrikes.

Spokesman for the SDF denied reports about airstrikes in the area.

Several sources suggest that ISIS may use the dam as a media weapon to stop the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advance in the Tabqa area. The SDF released a statement yesterday declaring the end of the second phase of its operations in the vicinity of Tabqa and the beginning of the attack on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah. The US-backed SDF also confirmed the assault on the Tabqa Airbase without revealing more details. SDF reinforcements have been pouring into western Tabqa in preparation for the final assault on the city as US warplanes target ISIS all across Raqqa province.

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The US should go back to Iraq , and clean up the mess they made there . Let Russia , Syria’s ally , clean up ISIS in Syria .

Pave Way IV

There’s about six million acre-ft of water in the Tabqa reservoir which is thought to be just over half full a while back – that’s 7.4 cubic kilometers for the other 99% of the planet who use those odd metric units.

Turkey stopped all flow of the Euphrates across the Syrian border last month (right after McCain’s visit to Erdogan) so I don’t think Lake Assad is anywhere close to full. If they closed all the gates at Tabqa Dam, it would still take several more months to fill to capacity. Note that the al Rey Irrigation gates on the north end (under SDF control) are open and water is seen flowing through it in some of the pictures. They can probably control the elevation of the reservoir with those gates alone, so there’s really no worry that the dam is going to overtop even if it is nearly full and ISIS has closed the flood gates on the concrete/powerhouse part of the dam on the south end.

comment image


Much more troubling is the possibility that stray bombs have hit the earthen embankment on the north end during those battles. The embankment already has visible seepage spots (not uncommon in this type of dam) evidenced by vegetation growing near the ‘leaks’. Bombs striking on or even near those spots could result in a catastrophic chain of failure.

Power unexpectedly cut to the hydroelectric plant is another issue. There are a number of technical reasons why they need continuous power to the plant (valves, gates, turbine speed control, lubrication, etc.). Merely losing power could potentially lead to a catastrophic failure of the power plant – the 2009 Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station accident in Russia had a different cause, but shows how vulnerable those parts of the dam are.


Excellent post Pave Way IV. Thanks for the info.


Wikimapia uses google maps…
Google maps for the syrian area are… being manipulated, they are fragmented in their timeline…

Like take for example: the bridges across the euphrates at raqqa look like they are new…
They are not, they were blown to hell several times by both the SAA, US, and France. LONG LONG AGO.

Another Example: Aleppo. Look at the eastern side. It looks like new… The water pump house, A HUGE BATTLEGROUND SITE, LIKE NEW…

Jobar and the damascus area looks like hell thou…

I noticed the maps were switched sometime after the end of the battle of aleppo.


Correct 3M, also file foto is TISHREEN DAM not TABQA as noted by PavewayIV .


100 % – Lake Assad is nowhere near capacity

Gary Sellars

Agreed, as all dams are equipped with open spillways so that release of water happens automatically once the spillway offtake level is reached. No gate control is needed.

Pave Way IV

The Tabqa dam is no longer generating any electricity, Gary. The switchyard and control room are shot, and the turbine hall was smoking at one point. I don’t think they’re getting that up and running any time soon.

There’s a small 81MW hydroelectric plant 18km downstream at the Baath Dam that might still be supplying a little electricity to Tabqa and Raqqa, but the reservoir is relatively tiny – 0.09 cubic kilometers. With the Tabqa gates shut, the Baath Dam’s reservoir will be drained in a few days and that hydro plant will shut down.

Pave Way IV

SouthFront: Your first picture on the top of this article is actually of Tishreen Dam, not Tabqa Dam.

It looks like the coalition/SDF destroyed the dam’s control room in an attack last night. ISIS claims staff fled – nothing to operate because controls and hydro plant destroyed. Since pictures are from earlier today from ISIS, they apparently still hold the main buildings and what’s left of hydro plant.

There are things about the dam/hydro plant that need to be controlled all the time. The dam won’t collapse, but bad things could happen very quickly that compromise the hydro plant or flood gates.


Pave Way IV

Lima Charlie News published an article today claiming the the U.S. SOF and SDF took complete control of the dam during a seven-hour operation last Wednesday morning (the 22nd).

VICTORY – Mission Tabqa Dam Complete, joint US SpecOps retake vital dam from ISIS

Interesting considering this would have been one of the most heavily defended pieces of property ISIS has held to date, yet the attackers were able to sneak in largely undetected and take out all the ISIS guys in a few hours – basically undetected. The US/SDF were later able to run around the dam and find/disarm all the explosives, so I guess everything is suppose to be safe. Because ISIS would have put all the explosives in plain site just like they do in the movies.

This doesn’t explain why people are supposedly still fleeing Raqqa for fear of a dam collapse. And it doesn’t explain the battle damage to the dam structures pictured above. Note that both of the dam’s integrated buildings on the left and right side have roof panels blown in by obvious airstrikes. The picture of the burnt-out control room was said to have been published by ISIS, not CJTFOIR, but the drone images of the damaged dam buildings were supposedly published by CJTFOIR.

I would think the SDF would have put a lot more out on social media of this victory since they seemed to be pretty enthusiastic about taking the guard building on the north end of the dam and published pics/vids of that.

Lima Charlie News may turn out to be right, but there’s little supporting evidence anywhere right now – either on the official side (MSM, CENTCOM/CJTFOIR) or on social media – that the U.S./SDF controls the dam. CJTFOIR put out a statement saying the dam was not in danger of collapsing, but made no mention that they actually controlled the entire structure.

Whoever holds it right now has to get the gates open manually since the control room was ruined. The power house was smoking in some images, so I wonder if they can even generate electricity any more. A report by a dam engineer said the water level was 1.5m from the top of the dam and was rising 2 – 3 cm a day, so the dam would overtop in a little over a month if the flood gates were not opened. The drone images show the water higher than I had previously believed, but it doesn’t look quite like 1.5m from the top of the dam.

Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Everyone seems to have a story.


Yes, on tgt per usual Paveway IV, seasonal rainfall inflow now diminished to a trickle plus Turks shut off headwaters inflow means level unlikely to increase to catastrophe for some time, if ever, as Ba’ath Dam reservoir need to fill to spill first. Meantime SDF can close off Tishreen Dam upriver if necessary.


What is CJTFOIR? And the US has been involved with Isis so its not surprising they took the dam so quickly, it was probably just a big show. “Hey guys, pretend we beat u and that were taking the dam” “OK!”

Pave Way IV

CJTF-OIR – Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve is the supposed coalition of nations fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It’s basically the U.S. military justifying it’s operations there by dressing them up as some kind of international effort. In reality, it’s nearly all U.S. with some token participation by other nations looking to liberate (= loot resources of) either Iraq or Syria. It’s an awkward acronym, so the media often just calls it’s forces ‘the coalition’ or ‘coalition forces’ or U.S.-led forces.

Operation Inherent Resolve is specifically the name of the military operation part, and CJTF is the collection of military forces involved.

Their claimed mission:

“…Combined Joint Task Force – Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (CJTF-OIR), by, with and through regional partners, is to militarily defeat DA’ESH in the Combined Joint Operations Area in order to enable whole-of-coalition governmental actions to increase regional stability…”


The U.S. uses it here as legal cover for theft of Syrian oilfields, air bases and the three Euphrates hydroelectric plants and destruction of Syrian infrastructure.



Pave Way IV

And the dam was not take by the SDF, Thegr8rambino. I posted the Lima Charlie News article as an example of the ridiculous claims being made about it. Some parts of the dam (the irrigation channel 4 km away from the hydroelectric plant) are under SDF control, but most of the dam including the power plant and main flood control gate structures are apparently not – they were simply bombed by the U.S. in a failed effort to take them. I make that assumption because this is supposedly video of ISIS from inside the bombed control structure. Not sure what the deal is with the gas mask. He keeps pointing to some kind of bomb or gas cylinder. Wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. used chemical weapons in their attempt, but this could just be a cylinder of welding gas for all we know. In fact, this whole video might be some kind of weird U.S. propaganda. That’s an awfully clean uniform for a head-chopper.



ISIS has dam repair crews? Of course they do, just like they have armoured divisions, don’t ask why.

Pave Way IV

That would actually be Syrian government power company employees, Rick0Shea. In one of the weird ‘compromises’ of this conflict, FSA and ISIS at different times have both allowed government staff to continue operating the Tishreen Dam Hydroelectric Plant (when they held it) and the Tabqa Dam one (before the U.S. bombed it) and the associated switching gear (also before the U.S. bombed it). The employees left Tabqa dam last week when the bullets started flying, so nobody really knows the condition of the power plant today – but it’s most likely toast.

Syria was still paying those employees who choose (voluntarily) to continue working at the dam. The deal is that the equipment is maintained and electricity still flows to ‘government-held’ areas, but also flows to FSA or ISIS-held areas. The head-choppers sort of leave them alone to do their job and everyone gets electricity. So you’re right – ISIS has no line crews or teams of high-voltage electricians.

The only alternative for either the FSA or ISIS is to chase the crews away and lose any possibility of getting any electricity in areas they hold which would cause problems with their popularity among their captives… er, the locals.

Pave Way IV

And if anyone is still following this thread, a U.S. airstrike on the 27th killed the head engineer/director of the dam and other staff. *Where* this happened is a bit unclear, but reports seem to indicate it was at the damaged dam. They were there to assess the damage. The guy had been interviewed the day before talking about the dam and he had not been back there yet.

So not only are there no engineers left at the dam, but the few that volunteered to stay there during ISIS occupation to run the place are now dead. Thanks, CJTFOIR, on behalf of the quarter-million Syrians that live downstream.

This shouldn’t be confused with a completely different set of small gates on the Al Rei irrigation channel held by the SDF. The Al Rei gates are 4km north at the very end of the dam embankment. It has nothing to do with, and is nowhere near he *main* part of the dam (hydroelectric plant, main floodgates & spillways) at the south end. SDF announced a cease-fire (but apparently didn’t tell ISIS) and sent some guys to Al Rei to try to open the irrigation canal gates – because the dam is going to overflow in a few weeks, give or take.

The Al Rei gates are electric, but everything got trashed when SDF assaulted it. They brought in a generator and electricians to try to lift the gates. Some Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) guys were there in their red jumpsuits. I’m guessing because they own some generators and work with electricity as part of their mission. The Al Rei gate operator (‘engineer’) was not involved in the Sunday airstrike and was at the gates during the repair. They did manage do fix enough stuff to get one gate partially lifted. Not sure why they didn’t get the second (there are only two) gate up. At some point, ISIS started lobbing mortars in the area so they all left. So when you see repeated fake news of ‘engineers fix Tabqa Dam’, they really just mean one of the irrigation channel gates 4 km from the main dam.

Despite claims of ‘victory’, nobody can be certain if the outflow into Al Rei is enough to stop the over-topping of the main flood gates at the hydro plant when the reservoir is full. It looks like lots of water gushing out (in vids), but consider if a single irrigation channel gate is really capable of spilling the entire Euphrates River winter runoff. Releasing anything will help, but it may only delay the inevitable. Water level in the reservoir is though to be 1.5 m or so from over-topping, and rising about 3 – 4 cm/day. So a month or so.


that’s what the americans usually do. to cripple vital infrastructure for future business contracts should they eventually win. they really do not care who are hurt most. Business is on top of this so-called war against islamic states. the americans and the israelis are deeply rooted in the ISIS/Daesh and all those militants out there. they are also in the other side of the war except the Syrian government.


Once the reservoir reaches a certain level, the water will naturally release thru a spillway…

The propaganda is pointless… The only thing of note here is isis and raqqa have permanently lost electricity.


Correct again 3M. See my post above to put things in perspective, the dam itself cannot be breached below the inflow, just the superstructure / pumps & power generating capacity


Heh, Tabqa damn was built with help from the Soviets….

That thing ain’t goin nowhere sir.



That’s exactly what I said in my comments


My comments from three months ago still valid, on SF 27DEC2016 I wrote ( apologies to Paveway IV for using “odd ” global metric system lol ) :

Putting on my battalion S2/S3

hat for a minute any chance of a co-ordinated night crossing (no moon)

of Lake Assad by SDF with some US/FR CAS ? or has Dai’ish delayed thru

this latest counter-attack ? BTW Tabqa dam cannot be “blown”up,

it is a massive earth dam, side on profile is like a trapezium, base 512

m, top 20 m, height 60 m, slope 13.7 deg or 1:4 (roughly, see Wikipedia

etc links for Tishreen/Tabqa/Ba’ath system) Ba’ath dam can be clearly

seen on SF map at water/irrigated zone interface midway Al-Khatuniyah

and Al-Mansurah. Dai’ish can cause damage to superstructure/turbine

plant and can flood downstream by blowing open all sluice gates and

slipways on both dams but only until the water volume in Lake Assad

reduces to 11 cubic kilometers +/- (that is below the level of the

turbine inflow gates ) Although the winter rains have finished Lake Assad

levels will not peak until late spring so this, plus the nasty Turks

failing to meet their obligation to supply the entire Euphrates river

system with 16 cubic kilometrs/yr means the hydro can only run 4 of 8

turbines at best. Anyway, while I always took these threats very

seriously, I don’t think these nihilist nutjobs can cause a major

catastrophe downstream. Their ability to defend Raqqa is another matter,

they are favored by the weather and wonderful defensive terrain to

their north plus being located entirely on the left bank their rear is

protected by the riverline and high cliffs along the right bank with

just two road bridges to guard. If they could fill the Ba’ath Dam

reservoir they should be able to flood all the irrigated zone downstream

and past Raqqa – this certainly should be a tactical defensive option

which makes sense to me.


Raqqa is perfect for a hammer and anvil approach.


What is that?

Gary Sellars

By what right does the Yankistani airforce attack and damage such vital infrastructure???? As much as I HATE these filthy IS goat-fuckers, IS doesn’t own the dam or generator facility, they simply control it on a temporary basis. The dam belongs to the SYRIAN PEOPLE and the US has NO RIGHT to attack it….

gfsdyughjgd .

USA/Nato damaged Syrian infrastructure since day one bridges,dams,oil,gas fields and power stations.No surprise at all.


I’m not quite sure I understand why there is a big race to raqqa. Why not just let the SDF and US marines there deal with Isis? That would certainly take a huge burden off the SAA so that they can concentrate on finishing off Isis and other militants, as well as keeping Israel at bay. I think they’ve got their hands full doing all of that already! But they’ve been doing a stellar job lately.

Real Anti-Racist Action

This is psy-war by the CIA for sure.
Getting ISIS to flee out of the area, to go into the hills to wage another 6 year war (this time a guerrilla war) against the Syrian people.
Once they abandon the area, US troops will move in.
Then years later they will brag about the CIA’s psychological operation that defeated the ISIS capital with minimal losses lol.

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