SOHR exclusive | “Salvation Government” imposes taxes on individual fundraising campaigns in Idlib
As the “Salvation Government” imposes indirect taxes and levies on civilians in north Syria region through imposing levies on development projects, services and facilities provided by humanitarian organizations in areas under the control of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham, the “Salvation Government” has imposed new taxes on individual fundraising campaigns directed to displaced people in several camps in north Syria.
The “Department of the Displaced People Affairs” of the “Salvation Government” has imposed taxes up to 10% on individual fundraising campaigns by donors, which are directed to refugee camps, as well as the support provided by humanitarian organizations. Such individual fundraising is usually granted by people living outside Syria or by merchants in Syria, who desire to provide support to specific camp or a group of camps.
The “Department of the Displaced People Affairs” allows the distribution of aid, contributions and donations only after a getting permission and under its supervision, where it takes over a portion of the provided aid.
G.M. an individual aid worker who distributes sums of money and other kinds of material aid provided by donors shared his experience with SOHR, “on many occasions, I quarreled with officials of the ‘Salvation Government’ who wanted to take a portion of every sum of money or material aid I was distributing. Recently, the officials of the ‘Salvation Government’ turned to another plan to exert pressure on displaced people and make them refuse aid, as the officials threatened to stop aid they provided to the camps’ inhabitants if they took aid provided by others without a permission by the ‘Department of the Displaced People Affairs’. Thus, when I try to distribute any kind of aid, the inhabitants refuse to take it for fear of stopping aid provided by the ‘Salvation Government’.”
In a testimony to SOHR, an official in a camp near Kafr Takharim town in north-western Idlib confirmed that most of the taxes and levies imposed by the “Salvation Government” go to the officials, and that he saw this with his own eyes. The man added “On many occasions, I saw officials of the ‘Department of the Displaced People Affairs’ suspending fundraising campaigns, and if a campaign aimed to distribute food baskets, the officials asked for some of those basked and took them over. It is pity that the ‘Salvation Government’ leaves tycoons and businessmen who own major companies in north Syria and exploit poor displaced people who have already been grappling with the consequences of Syria’s protracted war. All displaced people are angry of such practices and see that their living conditions are supposed to be improved instead of looting portions of such individual fundraising which are considered very small, under the pretext of taxes and fees.”
It is worth noting that the “Salvation Government” imposes a fixed rate of taxes on humanitarian organizations and charities operating in areas under its control under the pretext of supporting the government’s administrative and service installations and financing its military formations.