Ongoing violations in Afrin | Turkish-backed factions fell olive trees, loot harvest and impose levies on farmers • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Ongoing violations in Afrin | Turkish-backed factions fell olive trees, loot harvest and impose levies on farmers

Aleppo province: SOHR sources have reported that “Suqur al-Sham” faction has felled over 200 olive trees in the past week in Sheikhkhourzah village in Bulbul district, using bulldozers. In addition, the Turkish-backed faction has felled 400 other olive trees in several areas in Bulbul district, after looting the harvest, in which the felled trees were sold as logs for heating.

 

Moreover, “Suqur al-Sham” faction which controls Qazilbash and Biyaliyah villages has canceled the authorization documents granted by the local councils to the relatives of Afrin’s people who have been displaced to Aleppo city and northern countryside during “Olive Branch” operation to manage their properties. The faction also has not handed over the properties of the people who returned recently to the village, and it prevented these people from reaching their land and properties. It is worth noting that members of “Suqur al-Sham” also looted the olive of 300 trees belonging to two civilians known by their initials as “S. A.” and “A. M.” and threatened to arrest every civilian who would harvest olive for the favour of Afrin’s displaced people.

 

In Raju district, however, the Turkish-formed local councils have imposed levies of 250 USD on olive pressers, while al-Sham Corps imposed levies on the representatives of the forcibly displaced people from Afrin of 50% of the olive harvest. The Turkish-backed group also forced the farmers to press olive in pressers working for its favour.

 

While in Sheikh Hadeed district which is under the control of “Suleiman Shah” (al-Amshat), members of the faction imposed levies of 25% of the olive harvest, as well as imposing levies of 300 USD to 1,500 USD on the residents who returned recently to Sheikh Hadeed, based on the number of trees owned by everyone of these people. The faction also looted the olive harvest of 300 trees belonging to a civilian known by his initials as H. A.

 

SOHR sources had reported previously that al-Amshat and Sham Corps prevented civilians from going to their farmlands under pretext that “the area was under lockdown and curfew due to the outbreak of COVID-19”, so that they could collect and loot the olive comfortably.

 

Similarly, Liwaa al-Samarqand has looted and harvested olive trees belonging to a civilian known by his initials as A. Z. in Kafr Safra. The civilian was shocked when he found workers picking his olive with militiamen of Liwaa al-Samarqand, which forced the civilian to return to his home for fear of being shot by the militiamen in his land.

 

On October 12, “al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah” looted the harvest of over 400 olive trees belonging to a civilian from Arnada village in Sheikh Hadeed, as militiamen stationed at checkpoint of “al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah” and “Sultan Suleiman Shah” factions, which control the villages of Sheikh Hadeed, prevented the civilians from reaching their farms under pretext that “the area was under lockdown and curfew to prevent the spread of COVID-19”. Despite the residents had filed complaints to the military  police of thefts by the Turkish-backed militiamen, the complaints were made against unknown persons.

 

According to SOHR sources, the number of olive trees looted by Turkish-backed factions in Afrin canton since early October has reached nearly 29,650, and they were distributed as follows:

 

  • 7,000 trees in Qizlbash village in Bulbul district were looted by Suqur al-Sham faction.

 

  • 17,600 trees in Abudan, Qarna, and Sheikhourza villages in Bulbul district were looted by Suqur al-Sham faction.

 

  • 750 trees in Omar Soumo village in Sharan district were looted by Jaysh al-Nokhba.

 

  • 50 trees in Sheikh al-Hadeed district were looted by “al-Amshat” faction.

 

  • 3,000 trees in Yalanquz village in Jendires district were looted by Liwaa al-Samaranqad faction.

 

  • 100 trees in Jamaq Saghir village in Raju district were looted by al-Sham Corps.

 

  • 500 trees in Bulbul district were looted by thieves affiliated to Sultan Murad Division.
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