“HASAKA, Syria — At a government bakery in Hasaka, Syria, a faded image of former President Hafez al-Assad looms over the aging machinery and clanging steel chains of the assembly line. The painting dates from long before the war, when this region of northeast Syria was still under government control.
Outside, a long line of families and disabled men wait for bags of subsidized flat bread, which sells at about a quarter of the market price.
What is new at this bakery, the largest in the region, is the color of the flour dumped into giant mixing bowls: It is now pale yellow instead of the traditional stark white.
“This is a new experiment we started three or four months ago,” said Media Sheko, a manager of the bakery. “To avoid bread shortages, we had to mix it with corn.” “
” . . . For thousands of years, the Euphrates River and its largest tributary, the Khabur River, which cuts through Hasaka Province, nurtured some of the world’s earliest farming settlements. But the rivers have been drying up.
The U.S. space agency, NASA, which studies climate change, says the drought that began in 1998 is the worst that some parts of the Middle East have seen in nine centuries.
Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times
Turkey, which controls the region’s water supply from parts of northern Syria that it controls through proxy fighters, has been accused of reducing the flow to the area inhabited by the Kurds, whom it considers an enemy.”