"Law of jungle" | "4th Division" checkpoints blackmail civilians coming from Arab countries by confiscating their money and stealing their luggage • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

“Law of jungle” | “4th Division” checkpoints blackmail civilians coming from Arab countries by confiscating their money and stealing their luggage

After Syrian regime took full control of areas in southern Syria, specifically “Nassib” border crossing with Jordan in July 2018 and the border crossing opened, many Syrian expatriates and refugees residing in Arab gulf states, especially those who are from the eastern areas in Syria, Al-Raqqah and Deir Ezzor,” started coming to Syria to visit their families and spend holidays in Syria. It is normal for expatriates to carry foreign currency, whether riyals or dollars, etc. and because the majority of newcomers are from eastern Syria, they have to take taxis to transport them to Al-Raqqah and areas controlled by SDF.

The taxi fare from the capital, Damascus, to Al-Raqqah has risen to 600,000 SYP, the taxi drivers say that they have risen the fare because they pay for checkpoints and Fourth Division members stationed at checkpoints exploit the expatriates coming from gulf states and treat them as heavy spoils.

As members of Fourth Division who are stationed at checkpoints inspect all cars carrying expatriates to confiscate the foreign currencies, dollars or riyals and large amounts of money in Syrian currency, as The Syrian currency in large amounts is even forbidden to enter from “4th Division” checkpoints.

At the “4th Division” checkpoints newcomers women entering rooms staffed by women volunteers to the regime who carry out full rigorous inspection up to sensitive areas and men also are subjected to strict inspection and search. The members of fourth Division also insult them.

After the strict inspection is done, members of fourth Division confiscate the sums of money they possess under the pretext of dealing in non-Syrian pounds and having foreign currency. Although the newcomers entered Syria via Naseeb the crossing border without any harassment or confiscation of money. However, “4th Division” checkpoints are different from others and tighten the screw on civilians, as the members confiscate their money and even new goods and luggage.

In April, SOHR activists reported that since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict a year and a decade ago, the “Fourth Division” of regime’s army, led by the brother of the Syrian president, Maher Al-Assad, has suppressed peaceful protests in Syria and arrested thousands of Syrian people. It has also set up its barriers and checkpoints in all Syrian areas, and participated in most of the battles that regime forces have fought with their affiliated militias against their opponents.

Since then, the members of the 4th Division stationed at checkpoints have committed violations against civilians and extorted people who cross these checkpoints by taking money forcibly from them and arresting them for ransoms for their release, in addition to imposing levies on the cars of merchants and civilians across all areas controlled by Syrian regime.

The violations and atrocities committed by Fourth Division have no longer limited and confined to imposing levies on civilian cars and extorting merchants to allow their cargo-loaded vehicles to cross the checkpoints.

The 4th Division has recently imposed “levies” on departees and entrants via official and illegal border crossings linking Syria with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and areas outside the regime’s control in areas controlled by SDF and other areas controlled by factions in north, east, northern and north-western Syria.

The Fourth Division has recently imposed levies on merchants’ goods coming to Syria via Latakia port, deepening the suffering of Syrians, who are suffering mainly from a stifling economic crisis under the economic sanctions imposed on regime, rampant corruption in state institutions, and the repercussions of Ukraine-Russia war.

According to Syrian Observatory sources, “Fourth Division” has begun in late March to impose levies on imports that entered via Latakia port. These levies have contributed significantly to increasing the prices of products and goods in the Syrian markets. Fourth Division members stationed at checkpoints stop cars loaded with cargo near the port of Latakia, then an officer gives the merchant a receipt for payment of 20 to 30 % of the merchant’s shipment and does not allow him to take his goods before he pays the money for Fourth Division officer in addition to paying taxes and dues to supply and customs officers.

Syrian people in the entire Syrian geography, in particular residents in areas controlled by regime, suffers from high prices of basic goods and staple foods following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, rationing decisions, and subsidy cut by the government to many families, in light of low income and lack of employment opportunities.

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More