Afrin: Millions of dollars in taxes... “Al-Amshat” tightens its grip on Kurdish civilians in two towns of Afrin

Afrin: Millions of dollars in taxes... “Al-Amshat” tightens its grip on Kurdish civilians in two towns of Afrin

Nov 28 2023

ARK News… Kurdish farmers in Afrin and its countryside in Syrian Kurdistan hoped for the best, with the rise in the price of the oil crop, as the price of one 16-liter tin reached more than 90 US dollars. However, the taxes imposed by the armed factions burdened them. Compared to previous years, the factions raised Taxes of 300 percent on oil production for non-existent owners, and at varying rates in other regions.

ARK was able to conduct statistics in numbers and percentages, from many sources in the Mabata and Shih districts, about the taxes imposed on villages under the control of the militants of Sultan Suleiman Shah “Al-Amshat,” one of the factions of the “National Army,” in the center of the Shia district and its villages, the Mabata district and some of its villages.

The sources reported that “Al-Amshat imposed 20 US dollars on each tree belonging to those not in the district, such as refugees in Turkey and Lebanon, who have agents in the village who manage the livelihoods of their relatives, noting that the imposed rate was 4 dollars per tree last year.”

The sources added, "The displaced people in Al-Shahba camps are completely deprived of their season. They cannot harvest the season through agents or relatives present in both areas, under the pretext that the displaced people in Al-Shahba are loyal to the PYD administration, and therefore Al-Amshat controls the entire season. The number of displaced trees is only estimated at no." Refugees received 275,000 olive trees in the center of Shih district and its villages.”

The sources confirmed, "The farmers in the district are forced to pay one dollar for each tree and 5 percent of the oil production directly from the presses. In each press, there are two representatives affiliated with the factories who monitor the production of the presses day and night to ensure the percentage of taxes imposed."

According to sources, the taxes imposed on some villages for this 2023 season are as follows:

Shiye town center: 1,100,000 million and one hundred thousand dollars, total taxes in dollars and the percentage of oil from presses.
Sanare village: $700,000
Three villages of Chaqala Al-Wastani, Al-Tahtani, and Al-Foqani: $700,000
Anqale: $600,000
Mabata town center: $500,000
Hussê village $300,000
Hikiche 300 thousand dollars
Ashkan Gharbi 200 thousand dollars
Khalil village $20,000
Alkana: $16,000

Afrin and its countryside are under the control of Turkey and the armed factions affiliated with the Syrian Interim Government, and civilians there are groaning from the continuous violations and phenomena of armed factions, the large number of arbitrary arrests without arrest warrants, and taxes and royalties in large sums of money, amid demands for the necessity of ending armed manifestations within populated areas.

The General Authority of the Syrian National Coalition held its 69th session of meetings, Thursday, November 23, 2023, in the Aleppo countryside, stressing the importance of measures that fall within the framework of achieving justice through steps to hold perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable against innocent people and the necessity of continuing to strengthen authority. judiciary in the areas of the “Syrian Interim Government” and strengthening the civilian police forces within the Ministry of the Interior, calling for the necessity of achieving security, stability and justice in those areas, holding perpetrators of violations and crimes against civilians accountable, and taking decisive steps to stop the multiplicity of tax authorities and the necessity of preventing the imposition and collection of any taxes except by the Ministry. Finance and Economy, affiliated with the Syrian Interim Government.

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on leaders of the armed factions affiliated with the National Army due to human rights violations against civilians in the Afrin region of Syrian Kurdistan, including Muhammad al-Jassem “Abu Amsha,” the leader of the Suleiman Shah faction, and Saif Polat Abu Bakr, the leader of the Hamza Division.

The US Treasury published, in an official statement on Thursday, August 17, 2023, that it had imposed sanctions on three leaders of armed factions for committing serious human rights violations in Afrin.

The US sanctions included Al-Safir Cars Company, which is run by the leader of the Suleiman Shah faction, “Abu Amsha”, in addition to Walid Hussein Al-Jassem, who is the younger brother of Abu Amsha and who also holds a leadership role in the Suleiman Shah Brigade.

The US Treasury indicated that Al-Safir Cars Company is also co-managed by the leader of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction.

The sanctions also included the leader of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction, which was previously listed on “terrorist lists,” according to a US Treasury statement.

“Today’s action demonstrates our continued commitment to strengthening accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations, including in Syria,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

He stressed that "the United States is committed to supporting the ability of the Syrian people to live without fear of exploitation by armed groups and without fear of violent repression."