المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

After displacing more than 300000 Kurdish residents of Afrin people, Turkish-backed factions seize more than 75% of olive farms and receive the price of the first season in advance

Aleppo Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: from killing to displacing, and from stealing to looting and confessing that, through fighting, seizing and trafficking in detention, and between this and that, the civilians remain victims, as a grain of wheat between the millstone, suffering severely before trying to catch their breath again and live like the rest of the world in a climate of justice and equality filled with freedom and democracy, and Afrin is one of the Syrian towns that entered the first equation and came out of the second, to be excluded from this human climate and to live a daily scenes filled with persecution, arrest, looting, and robbery, without moving a muscle by the authorities responsible for the creation of all of this to prevent these violation from happening, where after extensive seizing of houses and farms of olive, olive compressing factories, stores, and warehouses by the factions working in the “Olive Branch” operation in Afrin city and villages in its countryside in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory monitored the “General Staff and command of the national Army” issuing a statement about the “private and public olive farms”, and the Syrian Observatory received a copy of the statement:
“out of keenness of the general staff and leadership of the National Army to preserve public and private properties in Afrin area and its countryside, the following is decided: the responsibility of compressing and harvesting olive trees rests with the local councils in each area, all factions must hand over all sectors of olive trees belonging to the public and private properties to the local councils in your areas, we call on all factions to abide by the contents of this circular and any violation will entail accountability, this circular shall be communicated to all factions of the National Army.”

Reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the reasons for this decision -which confirms the control of “Olive Branch” operation factions arbitrarily of the economic resources in Afrin- came against the backdrop of the seizure of most of the olive plantations in Afrin by the factions of operation “Olive branch”, and leasing it dealers and workers to work in them and receive money in advance as a price for the lease of these seized plantations, which are more than 75% of the area of olive farms in Afrin, after the factions shared control of olive farms.

The Syrian Observatory published on the 16th of September 2018 that  a group of one of the factions had stolen a car depot in the old area of Afrin, which is owned by a Kurdish citizen of Afrin city, the sources confirmed that the robbery took place late at night and that they stole items and transported them to an unknown destination, while the value of the stolen stuff was estimated at over 60 million Syrian pounds, but no party was held accountable for this robbery which provoked discontent of the locals from the systematic lootings, which are taking place continuously, amid silence of the Turkish Forces.

The Syrian Observatory published on the 3rd of September 2018, that Afrin city becomes empty of any security presence, every day at midnight, in which the armed members of the factions become active, and gunfire processes take place every day, sources suggested that they are carried out as a result of thefts by groups of the factions operating in Afrin area and the city, also the sources confirmed that the members of a division operating within the Operation “Olive Branch”, looted a large warehouse in the center of Afrin city, 5 days ago, where it contained furniture of a house, electric devices and home appliances, where the warehouse was almost emptied and its contents were taken to unknown destination, also the locals confirmed in the past few days to the SOHR that that members of the factions turn to fabricate accusations against some citizens and terrify them, in order to seize their possessions or collect royalties from them, and the Syrian Observatory documented in the past few hours, that a member of Jaysh al-Sharqiyyah faction, assaulted and beat a Kurdish elderly woman, in Mahmoudia neighborhood in Afrin city, as the woman refused to leave her house, after bringing charges against her that her sons belong to the Democratic Union Party and to the Kurdish forces, then a verbal dispute began between the member and the elderly woman, which ended with assaulting and beating the elderly woman by the member who belongs to a security force in Jaysh al-Sharqiyyah faction operating under the banner of the Operation “Olive Branch” led by the Turkish forces, the Syrian Observatory also published on the 12th of August 2018, that violations continue in Afrin area in the northwestern countryside of Hama, where intersected sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that after the end of lootings by the Turkish-backed factions for the citizens property and the contents of inhabited and uninhabited houses, and confiscating and burning houses and farms, the factions operating in the Turkish forces-led “Olive Branch” operation began looting the public property, where the Syrian Observatory monitored during the past 48 hours gunmen of the Sultan Murad Division cutting off the copper electric cables, assembling, and stealing them from an area near al-Nowruz Roundabout in the middle of Afrin, where some people came out to question their identity and why they were there, but a member of the group said: “we are thieves, you better enter your home,” also another person asked them why are they cutting the copper electricity cables, another member answered in the same way: “we are fixing the electricity for you”, and the local sources confirmed that in conjunction with this robbery, a military police patrol passed through the area where the division of Sultan Murad are stealing the cables, which led a verbal altercation and very loud screams, but the Free Police were unable to stop the robbery and returned to its headquarters, after which the Turkish armored vehicles came to roam in the area, which pushed members of the group to flee but they came back to complete the stealing one the Turkish patrol left the area, the sources confirmed that this stealing lasted more than 3 hours without any force to prevent them from stealing.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 15th of September 2018, that members from factions operating in the “Olive Branch” operation arresting more citizens and taking them to their headquarters, and trafficking them through negotiation with their families for a specific ransom -which sometimes reaches 10 million Syrian pounds- in exchange for the release of their detainee, also the local sources confirmed that the factions are seeking through the raid to carry out more looting and stealing of the citizens’ property, which led to some residents resisting them by expelling them or preventing them from entering their homes in Afrin city or in the villages and towns of Afrin city, while some locals filed a complaint to the Turkish Forces but they did nothing, and left the hands of factions of “Olive Branch” operation free in Afrin, also residents complained about the prohibition of the Turkish Forces and the factions which operate under their command of the farmers to work on their lands and farms, by targeting them if they approached the land, also the schools are still close until further notice from the officials of Afrin area and the local councils working on the administration of the area, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored sporadic attacks claimed the lives of at least 5 fighters of the rebel and Islamic factions operating in “Olive Branch” operation, carried by gunfire targeting or IED detonations.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 16ht of September 2018 that a statement issued by the Syrian Islamic Council about the “seizure of property in the area of Olive Branch Operation”, and the statement says:

“The property of the safe population should not be interfered with under any condition, and the property of the separatism militia falls under public funds, explaining by that not to interfere to the private and public funds in the areas which were under the control of the Kurdish Forces, and they may not be removed from their people, whether they are real estate, land, or agricultural products without a “Sharia reason,” because they belong to the people of the area, also the property of family members of the Kurdish Forces are left untouched or confiscated, with forbidding the removal of people from their homes or confiscating their crops and land, and when it is proven in court that the land was seized in the above-mentioned cases then it is returned to their owner, and if the owner is not known it is kept at the disposal of the local administrations, and its income is spend on the public interest and especially the families of martyrs, displaced, and needy people, while the premises, assets, and property of the Kurdish Forces -which were not previously taken from citizens- become for the public interest under the supervision of the local administration, and every fighter or faction must return all the money they have taken, land, or crop without permission or acceptance of the landowners or have not been paid must be returned to their owners, and the Islamic Council has recommended to local administrations to count and document the property and real estate in those areas, along with immediate investigating and return of any violation in the property of the safe population, where the injustice is forbidden in anyone’s right, and Allah almighty knows better.

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