Syria's President, Hafez Assad and the country's top leaders arrived in Tabqu in Syria's northeast on Thursday (5 July) for the start of the festivities to mark the final stages of the huge Soviet----built dam.
GV Euphrates dam site
SV Guards on road
GV Site under construction
SV Villagers arrive in truck (2 shots)
SV Russian & Syrian flag
GV Dam with wall (2 shots)
GV Flowing water
GV, CU Bulldozers close gap of dam (4 shots)
GV Ditto filling gap in water
GV Assad & Andre Kirilenko arrive to open dam
SV Kirilenko & other delegates to dais
SV Assad waves & to dais
SV Crowd applaud
CU Assad makes opening speech with Soviet delegates (4 shots)
SV Kirilenko applauds at end of speech
SV Assad cuts tape & opens dam (stone in honour of occasion)
DAM SITE: GUARDS ON ROAD: SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION: GUARDS ARRIVING: VILLAGERS ARRIVE ON TRUCKS: SOVIET & SYRIAN FLAGS: DAM WALL WITH WATER: BULLDOZERS DROP ROCKS INTO WATER CLOSING GAP: ASSAD & KIRILENKO ARRIVE: CROWDS APPLAUD: ASSAD MAKES OPENING SPEECH: ASSAD CUTS RIBBON & OPENS DAM.
Initials SGM 2348 SGM/2313
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Background: Syria's President, Hafez Assad and the country's top leaders arrived in Tabqu in Syria's northeast on Thursday (5 July) for the start of the festivities to mark the final stages of the huge Soviet----built dam.
At the main ceremony, giant cement blocks were dropped into the river bed of the Euphrates to divert water to the dams artificial Assad lake, named after the President.
The building of the body of the dam and the installation of the eight turbines for generating electric power has cost over 100-million pounds Sterling (about 240-million dollars US). Two thirds of the amount was given to Syria by the Soviet Union in 1966.
Syrian leaders have described the dam as a 'symbol of Syrian-Soviet friendship'.
SYNOPSIS: The flags were flying and the bands were playing on Thursday in the heart of the Northeast of Syria for the official opening of the huge Euphrates dam project. Guards were stationed on roads leading to the dam's edge, ready for the arrival of President Hafez Al-Assad.
Along with the jeep-loads of guards came many of the villagers who'd helped to construct the dam.
The dam, which was built by Soviet technicians, cost over one-hundred million pounds - about two thirds of which was paid for by the Soviet Union. It's one hundred and ninety feet high, just over two-and a half miles long, and fifteen-hundred feet wide at the top.
The final hours of the operation saw a team of bulldozers closing the gap in the wall. They did this by dumping huge cement cubes into the mighty Euphrates River, changing its course, and sending it surging into the dam. The lake inside the dam will store twelve billion cubic metres of water in about two and a half years.
On opening day, President Hafez Al-Assad arrived with Andre Kirilenko, of the Soviet delegation, and walked, flanked by cheering clapping people, to the official dais.
In his speech to declare the massive project open, President Hafez said he expressed full confidence that the Euphrates project would bear fruits with the efforts of his people. He paid tribute to the Soviet experts for their co-operation and expertise, and said that the ceremony was an important one in the nation's history. The president said that the dam would remain an eternal monument symbolising Arab-Soviet friendship.
Mr. Kirilenko and the crowd applauded the President's speech, and the official party moved to the platform bearing the monument to commemorate the occasion. Unveiling the plaque, the president said that in the name of his people, he saluted the engineers, the technicians and the workers who had co-operated to build the dam. The dam is the biggest in the Middle East after Egypt's Aswan High Dam.