SOUTHWEST ASIA — Coalition and partnered Syrian opposition forces recently repaired a water well capable of producing more than 317,000 gallons of water a day in southern Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said today.

Because the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria controls water wells in the region, water resources for local Bedouins and partner forces are limited. The repair of this well provides a much-needed resource for those forces opposing ISIS.

Sustainability Milestone

"The area was controlled by [ISIS] a little more than a year ago. Now, through the dedicated effort of partner forces, it has been reclaimed and serves as a base of operations to facilitate their defeat," said Army Capt. Aaron Gookins, a civil affairs team leader.

"Now that partner forces have a working well, it's another huge milestone achieved by the [partnered Syrian forces] in an effort to create sustainability for themselves," he added.

The well has been in disrepair since the 2011 mass exodus of civilians escaping ISIS, officials said.

After coalition civil affairs troops assessed the well, the team discovered the motor pump was beyond repair and needed to be replaced.

Confidence Boost for Syrian Partners

"When they needed to have parts made, our partners were very resourceful and resilient, using their own networks and contacts to move the project along," said Army Staff Sgt. Joshua Droppo, a civil affairs specialist. "It was really a boost of confidence for them."

Coalition and partner forces worked diligently to forge this partnership, task force officials said, noting that the well project is one of many joint ventures that are contribution to strengthening the relationship while building confidence within the vetted Syrian opposition forces.

For now, the well water will be used for hygiene and cooking until testing is complete to make sure the water is potable.

"I'm really excited to see some water come out of it," Droppo said. "I'm happy to see the project get where it is today."

The coalition and its Syrian opposition partners have seen their share of obstacles while completing the project, officials said, such as finding repair parts, locating appropriate contractors and vendors and defeating ISIS fighters during a recent attack on the garrison.

Though the coalition presence in the harsh landscape of the Hamid Desert is temporary, officials added, coalition troops and partner forces continue to build new relationships and that will contribute to the defeat of ISIS in Syria.   back...
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