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Syrian Dam Threatened By Air Strikes Returns To Normal Operation

The Tabqa dam on the Euphrates River is the largest in Syria.

A major dam on the Euphrates River that had been threatening to collapse after being hit by air strikes has returned to normal operation again.

The dam near Tabqa, Syria, had stopped functioning for 11 days amid heavy fighting between U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and Islamic State (IS) militants.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a team of Syrian Red Crescent and dam employees entered the facility through areas still controlled by IS and opened spillways.

"The dam is now working and the fears for its collapse are now gone," observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told dpa on April 5.

The hydroelectric dam, the largest in Syria, was in danger after being hit by U.S.-led coalition air strikes. Engineers warned that the strikes had destroyed the dam's control room and locked its gates, causing water levels to rise dangerously.

The dam plays a critical role in Syria's electricity generation and irrigation of the Euphrates Valley, one of Syria's main agricultural areas.

Tabqa holds an important strategic position on the approach to the IS stronghold of Raqqa, which U.S.-backed forces are striving to take.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa