Idlib | Agricultural entrepreneurs in countryside take advantage of poverty, sending children to work near frontlines with regime forces
Thousands of families live in camps in the areas held by HTS and factions, without the minimum life’s essentials.
As regime forces and loyalists took control of large areas of agricultural land in rural Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama, these families were deprived of their livelihood and their agricultural projects became in the regime-controlled areas.
Thousands of unemployed young people are living in the camps, while some of them are doing dangerous work putting their lives at risk, as they are in the regime fire range shuch as snipers and its heavy weapons. With low wages of up to 500 Syrian pounds per hour, which are not sufficient for their daily needs.
Their poverty exploited by agricultural land owners whose land has remained near the frontlines with regime forces, in the area west of Saraqeb city in the north to the administrative border with Aleppo province.
One of the displaced people has told the Syrian Observatory that men came to the camps asking for workshops on agricultural land. During the harvest, a farmer asked 40 workers to harvest his land east of Ma’arat al-Na’assan, and when the workers arrived in the area, the landowner told them that he had agreed with the regime forces to harvest his land.
As they approached, they found the bodies of the factions’ members lying near the workplace, which the factions’ members were unable to recover.
While working, the workers came under heavy fire from regime forces stationed at the soil barriers, less than 200 metres away from their workplace. The workers managed to escape after one of them was shot dead by snipers.
Those responsible for such actions, which put the lives of child and adult workers at risk of being killed or captured, and the exploitation of their displacemen and their poverty by agricultural landowners and displacement of agricultural landowners.
Another displaced person from Idlib countryside to the Sarmda camps says that during the harvest season, an agricultural project owner came to their camp asking them to go with him to harvest the potato project near the city of Sarmada, for 250 Syrian pounds per hour. The camp’s inhabitans sent their children to work with him, while they were taken to another area on which did not agree with the workers. He went to the outskirts of Saraqeb, near the military posts of the regime forces, and warned them of the risk of movements, then, some of the workers refused to go with him, the majority of whom were children who started crying, and demanded that the landowner remove them from the area and return them to their camps.