The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Violations in Afrin | Turkish-backed factions plant Hashish in Raju district

Aleppo Province – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Reliable sources in the Turkish-controlled canton of Afrin have informed SOHR that several Turkish-backed factions, including Ahrar Al-Sham, Sultan Murad, Ahrar Al-Sharqiyyah and Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah, are planting Hashish in Afrin countryside in north-western Aleppo.


According to SOHR sources, the planting of Hashish is taking place in large spaces in Maydan Ikbis, Kharab Saluk and Sawarka all of which are affiliated to Raju district with no body to deter these factions.


On February 24, SOHR sources reported that Turkish-backed factions committed “grave” violations in Afrin for the past three years, since they 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 were facilitated by factions commanders who also launder the money they 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 were sent to Azerbaijan and Libya.


The most remarkable example 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, nominated 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 the 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 cast the first stone of this hospital on February 16, 2021, when a military parade was held, igniting popular anger while social media activists deride these practices and likened them to regime practices and military shows.