المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Turkish-backed factions violations in Afrin | Al-Hamza Division imposes new levies for taking care of fruit-bearing trees

Aleppo province: SOHR activists say that the Turkish-backed al-Hamza Division, headed by Mu’taz Abdullah, has imposed new levies in return for allowing civilians to take care of olive trees belonging to people who have been displaced from the villages of Kafrdalli Tahtani, Kafrdalli Fuqani, Ma’rata and Mazen in Afrin countryside.

 

Al-Hamza Division has asked the authorized representatives of the trees’ owners to pay eight USD (25,000 SYL) for each tree every three years in return for allowing these representatives to take care of olive trees.

 

In June, the division asked the villages’ headmen in the region to count properties of people who had been displaced from Afrin with the aim to take them over, after the faction had already taken over some farmlands and olive trees belonging to these villages’ residents for “dealing with the Autonomous Administration”.

 

It is worth noting that this levy is also not included in the previous “harvest olives’ season” or the annual taxes of 20% of the harvest, which the Local Council have imposed on farmlands’ owners.

 

SOHR activists had reported that a member of al-Sham Corps, known as “Abu Khalil”, assaulted a 74-year-old lady from Kawenda village of Rajo district in Afrin on July 4. the Turkish-backed militiaman hit the woman with a chair and insulted and abused her because she refused to pay the “protection levy.”

 

Turkish-backed al-Hamzah Division had imposed levies of 200 to 500 TL on residents of Kokaniyah village in Maabatly district in Afrin countryside north of Aleppo, under “protection taxes”. “Abu Sultan”, a commander in al-Hamza Division, informed the residents that they must pay these new levies, during a meeting in the house of the village’s headman.

 

The commander warned the village’s residents that if they refused to pay, their properties would be subjected to thefts, then al-Hamza Division would be not responsible for protecting those properties.

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