المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Exploitation | Pistachio thieves and regime forces steal more than half of the value of pistachio crop in Idlib and Hama countryside

The pistachio crop is one of the most important agricultural crops in the southern Idlib countryside and northern countryside of Hama, where the price per kilo is about $4.

Regime forces and loyalists haad took control of the pistachio growing areas, depriving the majority of tree owners of their resources during the recent military operation in areas in Idlib and Hama.

On the other hand, the Syrian Observatory monitored the return of hundreds of farmers to harvest their crops despite the risks of being arrested by regime forces. In addition to the dangerous road as they take smuggling routes and pay large sums of money, because of the closure of crossings with regime-controlled areas.

Groups called “Shabiha of pistachios” have spread in the pistachio growing areas, behaving like “Shabiha” (individuals or gangsters who abuse power and do illegal actions for the benefit of specific influential bodies, like the Syrian regime’s Shabiha).

These group agree with regime forces to invest pistachio land for all farmers, whether resident or displaced, taking a percentage of the revenues and giving 15% to the resident landowner, while the largest share of the revenues go to the regime forces which provide these groups with protection in the area where they work.

The “Asset Management Committee” of the head of the military and security commission in Hama province had announced about an auction for the investment of pistachio farmlands in the cities and towns of Al-Lataminah, Latmin, Kafr Zita and Al-Zaka in the northern countryside of Hama.

The farmlands in question belong to civilians who have been displaced to areas in Idlib province and areas under the control of Turkish forces and their proxies in north Aleppo countryside, fleeing the recent military operations.

The committee gives 30 days to the contractor for harvesting after he gets a permission. Most of the farmers cannot reach fruitful trees in their farmlands in Hama and Idlib countryside as regime forces have captured most of the areas which contain pistachio fields.

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