Efrin: end of al-Qaeda siege north Syria

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14-01-2014

 

ARA News

Efrin, Syria− Over two months, the Kurdish city of Efrin, north Aleppo, was besieged by al-Qaeda fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which caused a humanitarian crisis as the city and its countryside were running out of food and basic supplies. Last week, the long standing siege was broken and prices of petroleum materials and food decreased after reaching unaffordable levels during the blockade. 

Grip of the al-Qaeda-linked fighters of ISIL over Efrin was weakened as they lost control over the cities of Azaz and Darat Izza in Aleppo’s suburbs after clashes with the Syria rebel group of the Islamic Front. Most of the ISIL checkpoints were taken over by the Front and removed, resulting in a limited freedom of movement in the area. Amid these developments, trucks loaded with food supplies arrived in the nearby city of Efrin. 

According to locals, the lifting of the two-moth-old siege has notably brought a kind of psychological and economic relief to the residents and traders.  

Othman Miho, a resident in Efrin, expressed his resentment for the way traders behave, saying: “Although traders continuously try to monopolize the market and hide products to resell them for higher prices in times of crisis, there has been a significant decrease in prices since last week, and people are a bit relieved”. 

In their turn, shop owners and traders blamed the issue of prices on the taxes imposed by the de facto authority of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

A shop owner −preferred anonymity− told ARA News that the PYD-linked forces are used to impose high taxes “even on small shops” in Efrin.

“They (PYD-affiliated forces) came to my shop and taxed me with 25,000 SP even though I don’t make such a profit in a month, but I couldn’t object because they are the de facto authority in the area,” he said.   

The shop owner continued saying: “Most of Efrin residents are compelled by the taxes. Refusing to pay taxes leads the Assayish −security arm of the PYD− to threaten and vow the charged, saying that as people used to pay to the Syrian authorities they are supposed to pay the local Kurdish authority (in reference to the PYD) which allegedly protects them and their areas.”  

Meanwhile, activists in Efrin criticized the practices of the PYD-linked forces and called on the group to be an authority in the service of the people, “not a restrictive authority which suppress and persecute them”. 

 

Reporting by: Jinda Ahmed and Jiwan Efrini

Source: ARA News

 

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