Aleppo countryside | Turkish-backed rival factions clashed to control smuggling crossings and revenues • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Aleppo countryside | Turkish-backed rival factions clashed to control smuggling crossings and revenues

SOHR activists have reported that smuggling movements continue through the crossings which separate the Turkish-backed factions held areas in northern Aleppo countryside away from areas under control of Manbij Military Council and SDF’s military formations.

It is worth noting that the smuggling operations between the two sides include fuels, vehicles, and civilians.

Al-Sukariya crossing is considered one of the most important crossings which separate Turkish-backed factions held areas and the Manbij Military Council-held areas, where civilians, fuels and vehicles are smuggled through that crossing and levies that reach 700 USD are imposed on each smuggled vehicle.

Al-Sukariya village is under control of “al-Shamr” Brigade affiliated to al-Hamza Division and led by “Mahmoud al-Ali”.

Due to this crossing’s importance and revenues, the factions battle each other and several clashes erupted between Ahrar al-Sharqiya and al-Hamza division to control the crossing where the last clash took place on July 1, in hope of earning millions of dollars monthly from the crossing.

Similarly, clashes erupted on July 7, between al-Hamza Division and al Jabha al-Shamiyah after the al-Hamza Division has sized several vehicles of al Jabha al-Shamiyah which were intended to be smuggled to areas under control of Manbij Military Forces.

As for regime-held areas, “Abu al-Zandin” crossing is considered as the most prominent trading crossing specialized for smuggling, recently under control of the al-Sultan Murad faction which is one of the most important formations of the Turkish-Backed “National Army”.

Through “Abu al-Zandin” crossing, fuel trucks, food supplies and meat have been exchanged with the cooperation of merchants from both sides.

Also smuggling through the Turkish-backed factions held areas includes metals such as Iron, Aluminum and copper, in addition to smuggling of civilians, livestock , food supply and vegetables, which takes place through the crossing of al-Sukariya village known as “al-Tafriae” which is controlled by al-Hamza Division.

The Ahrar al-Sham movement also plays a big role in the smuggling operations from Turkish-backed factions-held areas towards the Manbij Military Council-held areas. Manbij Military Council controls al-Maqlea crossing through which the fuel tanks, vehicles loaded with food supply and civilians also are smuggled to Tell Refaat, al-Shaikh Naggar and the Industrial Area in Aleppo.

There are also several other crossings such as al-Hamarat crossing in al-Ghandoura town in northern Aleppo countryside which is controlled by al Jabha al-Shamiyah, through which the smuggling operations to Manbij city and al-Areema town takes place and includes smuggling of civilians, and livestock, scrap iron and fuel loaded vehicles.

Similarly, al Jabha al-Shamiyah controls “Mareman” crossing, through which the smuggling of civilians towards Afrin city takes place for 700 USD per person.

Al-Hamza Division led by “Abd Allah Halawah” controls “Baslahia” crossing which is also used for smuggling civilians, livestock and vehicles, and the other side of the crossing is controlled by Iranian militias from Nebl and Zahraa cities and most of them work in the field of smuggling towards Afrin city.

“Al-Ahdas” crossing is the crossing designated for smuggling of civilians from Afrin city to Aleppo city. The crossing was controlled by Turkish-backed faction since their control of Afrin, and used to smuggle civilians to Aleppo city for 100,000 Syrian Liras only, due to decreasing number of civilians who want to flee towards Aleppo city, unlike the case three years ago, when the smuggling fee through the crossing reached nearly 1,000,000 Syrian Liras.

About 150,000 civilians of Afrin city passed through the crossing towards Aleppo city during the past three hours, where bandits killed several families to steal their gold and money. Al-Ahdas crossing is considered the most dangerous among other crossings due to the large number of planted landmines around it.

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