DaxuyanWergerandinالقسم الكوردي (kurdi)

Afrin Under Occupation (288): New royalties imposed by “Abu Amsha” and “Saif Abu Bakr”; the “Ninth Division” seizes agricultural land; targeting of Kurdish shops in Raju; the governor of Hatay as the primary official responsible; arbitrary arrests, vandalism, and theft at the “Trendeh” water station

Arabic to English Translation*

The Turkish aggression, accompanied by militias from the “Syrian National Army,” on the Afrin region in January 2018 began with the recitation of Surah Al-Fath, as if it were a conquest to open the lands of the “infidels.” This term has often been used by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) – Erdogan and his followers from Islamic groups and the Muslim Brotherhood – to justify their aggression against the Kurds, thereby legitimizing the plundering of the local population’s properties as spoils of war. This has been ongoing for six years, with “Mohammad Hussein Al-Jassim/Abu Amsha” and “Saif Abu Bakr” leading the looting of Kurdish properties. The American sanctions imposed on them have not deterred them in the slightest, as they enjoy protection and support from their Turkish allies, the “Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP)” and the “Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).”

Here are facts about the prevailing conditions:

= “Al-Amshat” imposes royalties on “grape leaves” and the upcoming “olive season”:

Over six years of Turkish occupation, not a single Kurdish family – the indigenous residents of the villages and towns under its control – has been spared from the financial ransoms and royalties imposed by “Abu Amsha” through armed force. In the Sheikh Hadid/Shiyeh district (a town and fifteen surrounding villages) and some nearby villages, a levy of $1.5 USD per grapevine was imposed during the grape leaf season, despite the poor yield due to spring rains and accompanying winds.

Recently, through one of his assistants, he informed village leaders in two separate meetings, one in the town of Shiye and the other in the village of “Anqala,” that a levy of $15 USD per olive tree would be imposed on fields belonging to absent Kurdish citizens and $1.5 USD per tree for fields belonging to present Kurdish citizens. This levy is to be collected within a week for the upcoming season, approximately five months before it arrives, regardless of whether the trees bear olives or not. Additionally, about $27 million USD was collected from olive season royalties about six months ago.

Those who refuse to pay the imposed levy will face punishment, and the levy will double when the season arrives, according to Abu Amsha’s representative’s threats.

It is known among the Kurdish residents of Shiyeh that after every meeting between Turkish intelligence officials and “Abu Amsha” and his group, a new decree against them is issued. This was evident recently when a decree imposing royalties for the next olive season was issued, clearly indicating that violations and crimes against the region and its inhabitants are directed by Turkey.

= “Al-Hamzat” declare seizure of properties in Raju:

After summoning village leaders in the Raju district to a meeting held in the village of Haj Khalil on May 12, 2024, by the so-called “Captain Hazem Mar’i,” the security official of the “Hamzat Division – Saif Abu Bakr” in the district, along with his brother “Colonel Hashim Mar’i,” a lawyer declared (the joint forces lawyer of the Al-Hamzat and the Sultan Suleiman Shah/Al-Amsjat devisions) that “the properties of Kurds residing in areas controlled by the regime and SDF forces, including Aleppo city and the Shahba region north of it,” have become the property of the “Syrian National Army” and “it has the right to dispose of it, Kurdish relatives in Afrin cannot claim them, no matter how close they are, Any violations will result in accountability and punishment.”

It is noted that “Hazem Mar’i” and his brother “Hani” have occupied the house/villa of the late Brigadier General Haidar Manan in the village of “Haj Khalil” since 2018, housing their families there.

= “The Ninth Division” seizes agricultural land in “Mamolo Gharbi”:

Continuing their violations and crimes, the “Ninth Division,” led by “Captain Abdul Nasser Jalal Shallouh” and his deputy, his nephew “Ahmad Shahoud Rashid/Haroun Rashid,” from Darat Izza in western Aleppo, part of which was exposed by the so-called “Abu Ahmed Ainjara” in a video published on the Tik Tok network, whivh we summarized in our previous report, we have been noted that it has seized land with approximately /110/ fruit trees in the “Qal Jiq” area – the mountain peak overlooking the village of “Mamolo Gharbi” in Raju. This land belonged to the “Sons of Haji Ismail Ahmad” from the village, who had purchased it from a resident of the nearby village of “Mosako,” as confirmed by residents of both villages.

Three two-story buildings have been constructed there to establish a military headquarters for the division.

= Seizure of over 200 shops in Raju:

Since the “Syrian National Army” militias took control of Raju town/center of the district in mid-March 2018, they have looted homes, shops, warehouses, and facilities, including remaining machinery and equipment. They seized about /1,100/ out of /1,500/ houses and /200/ shops, building new structures on seized properties. Militants and their close associates have occupied these shops. In a new targeting of the shops operated by Kurdish owners, Recently, the “Local Council in Raju” issued a new directive requiring shop owners to obtain business licenses within a week of notification. Most owners lack ownership documents due to their loss during the war and the absence of state institutions in the region. They face harassment, financial extortion, or eviction from their shops, paving the way for militia takeover or leasing by the council.

This directive does not apply to seized shops, as their occupants are protected by the militias, and no one dares to demand proof of ownership or business licenses from them. Some responsible for these seizures include “Haider Baaj and Abu Alaa Al-Taqsh – the Ninth Division, Abu Abdullah Al-Zurba and Al-Batoushi and Abu Youssef Al- Baghdadi – the Northern Division, Abdul Latif Abu Tayma and Abu Tloub – Ahrar al-Sharqiya.”

= “Hatay Governor” as the Primary Authority in the New Local Council Building:

Since Afrin has been under the jurisdiction of Hatay Province in Turkey since its occupation in 2018, Mustafa Masatli, the governor of Hatay, attended the inauguration of the new building for the “Local Council in Afrin” on May 14, 2024, as the primary authority for the region. He also chaired the first council meeting following the opening ceremony, which was attended by his deputies. According to the council’s Facebook page, the meeting “discussed numerous vital issues, challenges, and obstacles facing the work, and explored ways to overcome them. Plans were also reviewed to enhance the economic environment and develop healthcare, education, and infrastructure facilities.” Despite the presence of Mohammad Said Suleiman (Minister of Local Administration and Services in the Syrian Interim Government), this underscores Turkey’s actual control and administration of the region in both military and civilian sectors, imposing its governance and sovereignty symbols on part of another state, thereby fully fitting the definition of occupation. This is despite Ankara’s failure to acknowledge it under international law, as a state that should ostensibly respect such norms.

= Arbitrary Arrests:

Occupation authorities have detained:

– On May 15, 2024, citizen “Ali Suleiman Jawish /40/ years old” from the village of “Gamrouk” was arrested by the “Civil Police in Maabatli” militia without informing his family of the charges against him. He remains in arbitrary detention.

– On May 16, 2024, citizen “Rashid Sobhi Aisho /59/ years old” from the village of “Tel Silor” was arrested by Turkish intelligence and the “Military Police in Jenderes” militia on charges of association with the previous autonomous administration. He remains in arbitrary detention.

It is noted that all detainees are subjected to severe inhumane treatment and torture to extract confessions.

= Vandalism and Theft at the “Trenda” Water Station:

After the “Trenda” water station, located south of Afrin city, was rehabilitated, it was repeatedly vandalized and its equipment stolen (including the electric transformer, internal and external cables, batteries, diesel fuel, and more) by armed individuals and nearby settlers. The station has thus been rendered non-operational. According to a local source, these deliberate thefts are linked to a corruption case involving officials in the “Local Council in Afrin,” led by “Mohammad Sheikh Rashid” from the village of “Qeebareh,” and in the “Water Institution,” led by “Abdul Qadir Hafiz/Abu Wahid” from the town of Marea in northern Aleppo.

In response to the daily injustices and atrocities they face, and due to their feelings of oppression, disgust, and grievance, the remaining residents of Afrin frequently express harsh sentiments (curses, condemnations, calls for destruction, and accusations of collaboration…) against the “Free Syrian Army and its leaders and jurists – perpetrators of violations and crimes,” the “Syrian Coalition – the Brotherhood which covers and justifies these acts,” “Turkey, its army, and intelligence – which occupied their region and imposed mercenary militias on them,” “Kurdish entities and individuals collaborating with the occupation, the coalition, and militias,” “Kurdish parties remaining silent about their issue,” “the Syrian regime which abandoned their region in a trade-off with Ghouta and others,” “Russia which sponsored that deal,” and “the USA and the West, allies of Turkey and those silent about its government’s actions,” etc., each according to their responsibility.


Media Office-Afrin

Kurdish Democratic Unity Party in Syria (Yekiti)



Mohammad Al-Jassim and Saif Abu Bakr, with Hassan Hamadeh (Minister of Defense in the Interim Government), Yusuf Diya Arbagic, a key figure in the “Turkish National Movement Party – MHP” and leader of the “Wind Union – Rüzgar Birliği,” a component of the “Grey Wolves,” and Ibrahim Oziavuz, an MHP cadre and parliament member.

Hazem Mar’i, the security official of the “Hamzat Division” militia in Raju district.

“Captain Abdul Nasser Jalal Shalouh,” leader of the “Ninth Division” militia, and his nephew and deputy “Ahmad Shahoud Rashid/Haroun Rashid.”

The “Qal Jiq” site/mountain peak overlooking the village of “Mamolo Gharbi” in Raju, with buildings of the “Ninth Division” militia on seized agricultural land.

The devastated town of Raju, empty of its inhabitants shortly after its invasion in March 2018, and looted after its occupation.

Seven leaders of the “Syrian National Army” militia who have seized over 200 shops in Raju town.

Circular from the “Local Council in Raju” for business licensing, the notification form, and Khalil Osman Bakr, the council president.

Mustafa Masatli, the governor of Hatay Province, the primary authority at the inauguration of the new “Local Council in Afrin” building and at the first meeting held there on May 14, 2024.


* Under the supervision of the European Organization of the Kurdish Democratic Unity Party in Syria (Yekîtî).


You can download the full file by clicking here:

Afrin under occupation-288-18-05-2024-PDF

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