المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Unrefuted evidence of Abu Amsha’s shady businesses | Factions in Afrin launder money with Turkey’s full consent

Turkish-backed factions have committed “grave” violations in Afrin for the past three years, since they have captured the canton during “Olive Branch” operation. Moreover, the factions turned Afrin city and countryside into fertile ground for money laundering operations, with Turkey’s full consent, as such operations take place in full view of Turkish Walis (governors) officers and commanders present in Afrin. According to SOHR sources, money laundering is facilitated by factions commanders who also launder  money illegally gained through looting and thefts of properties of Afrin residents, both the residents who stayed in Afrin and those who fled to other areas; not to mention the taking over portions of the salaries of mercenaries who had been sent to Azerbaijan and Libya.

One of the most astonishing examples of money laundering operations is the businesses of the commander of “Suleiman Shah” Division, Mohammed Al-Jasem “Abu Amsha”. Abu Amsha has turned Sheikh Hadid district into a private kingdom, appointed  himself as the “Sultan” of hundreds of affiliated members, opened a mall, coffee shop and other businesses with Turkish support and after looting the residents’ properties and deducting 300 to 600 USD from the salary of every affiliated militiaman sent to Libya and Azerbaijan, 1,250 of who have been sent to Libya only.

The most prominent business of Abu Amsha was a hospital which was constructed on a plot of land he had seized in Sheikh Hadid and by looted money. It is worth noting that the head of the Syrian National Coalition Nasr Al-Hariri had laid the first brick of this hospital on February 16, 2021, when a military parade was held, igniting popular anger while social media activists derided these practices and likened them to regime practices and military shows.

On February 18, SOHR sources said that the Ankara-backed “Suleyman Shah Division” opened a “mall and café” in Sheikh Hadid area in Afrin countryside in north-west Aleppo, sponsored by the Division’s leader Mohammed al-Jassim known as “Abu Amsha” and in the presence of the Turkish Governor of the district and other personalities. It was promoted that the mall and café would service both Arab and Kurdish people.

Abu Amasha also opened a hospital in the same area in the presence of the president of the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Minister of Defense of the Interim Government and other personalities. The opening of the café and mall triggered discontent among civilians and military personnel. Amid accusations that Abu Amsha’s businesses came from money stolen by him and his faction from Afrin people who refused to leave their areas, and the looting of the properties of the area’s residents, as well as the theft of the money of the “mercenaries” sent by Abu Amsha to Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, where more than half of the fighters’ monthly salaries were deducted.

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