This report explains the impact of drought on agriculture in Syria and northern Iraq in 2021. Drought conditions are affecting eastern Syria and northern Iraq since early 2021, especially in the governorates of Al-Hasakah (Syria) and Ninewa (Iraq), after poor winter precipitation. The coping capacity of the population is very limited, due to the conflicts that ravaged the whole region in recent years, low-income and limited public services. Impacts are reported for agriculture.
The international tensions are exacerbated in the area, due to competing interest in water resources. Several months of below-average precipitation since autumn 2020 caused the current drought spell in Syria and Iraq. With a pronounced seasonality of rainfall and a naturally semi-arid climate, the annual water balance of these regions is entirely defined by the precipitation pattern between October and April, and deficits accumulated endure through the rest of the year.
This report concludes that the precipitation outlook until June 2021 is negative, with anomalous dry conditions to persist, and severe issues for irrigation, pasture biomass and water supply may be expected for several months ahead.