The strategically vital Al-Ba’ath HPP, in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa, is in the process of being renovated, Vladimir Varnavskiy, an officer from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides told TASS.
The Al-Baath HPP, named after the ruling Syrian Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, was built by Soviet engineers in the late 1980s. Staff from the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides came to assess the current conditions at the site.
According to Varnavskiy, once the civil war broke out, this strategically important site fell under the control of IS. In 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces troops retook the HPP.
“The Al-Ba’ath [Dam] is a strategically important location on the Euphrates River <…> the steady operation of the Arab Republic’s industrial facilities, the progression of social projects, as well as Syrians’ well-being all depend on the stable functioning of the entire hydro-electrical power chain,” the officer said.
Traces of fires are everywhere at the plant. Terrorists, retreating from the site, used explosive and petrol to destroy it. Not a single unit has been left intact after the militants fled. Engineers had to dismantle a few sets to assemble a working device from the debris.
Ali Alyatim, an experienced mechanic, has been working at the HPP for 35 years, from the start of its construction. According to him, every day something different needs to be fixed. The equipment is worn out, and it breaks down all the time, causing accidents. “It is good that a Soviet engineer taught me what to do 35 years ago, when the HPP was being built”, he told journalists.
Abdullah Mohammed, the shift director, said that two turbines out of three are currently operating. “The first one is still being repaired. Every hour we monitor the Euphrates River water flow and the current capacity. Accidents frequently occur and alerts about them come here [to the remote control]. Everything is convenient and reliable here,” he noted.
In mid-November, it was reported, that the biggest HPP was being rebuilt in the city of al-Tabqah, in the Raqqa province. Back then, it operated at roughly 50% capacity.