Sultan Murad faction seizes 3,300 olive trees in Afrin: SOHR

A SOHR report on Thursday accused the Sultan Murad faction of seizing 3,300 olive trees in Afrin.
Syrians look on behind an olive tree branch as they arrive at a checkpoint in the village of Anab, March 17, 2018 (Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP)
Syrians look on behind an olive tree branch as they arrive at a checkpoint in the village of Anab, March 17, 2018 (Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Thursday reported that the Sultan Murad faction seized 3,300 olive trees in the Kutanli village in the Bulbul district in Afrin countryside.

Moreover, other factions also reportedly seized olive trees by force from displaced civilians from Afrin.

Furthermore, the Ninth Division faction also seized 70 olive trees Sikh Blu area in Rajo district in Afrin.

Moreover,  300 olive trees were seized by two leaders of Suqour Al-Shamal” faction in Chikhurzah village in Bulbul.

In Maabatli district, a leader of the 112th Brigade forcefully seized the crop of 200 olive trees in Demlia village.

“The faction also imposed royalties of 2% of the olive crop, and looted them by force of arms, under the pretext of Supporting Gaza resistance,” SOHR said.

In March 2018, Turkey and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) took control of Afrin as part of Operation Olive Branch. Since then, SNA factions have systematically looted and confiscated olive fields and trees in Afrin.

A recent joint investigation, published on the Syrians for Truth and Justice website, draws attention to gross human rights violations in the Afrin region. The report is based on 40 testimonies and statements collected between March and May 2023, highlighting various issues, such as the theft of olive trees. Olive trees constitute a major source of income for the local economy in Afrin.

“A commander within the al-Hamza armed group converted my house into a post for [his activities], given its massive area,” Haroun told STJ. “Moreover, the group had seized six of our groves, cultivated with olive trees, grape vines, and vegetables. The pretext was that two of my sons worked with the AANES institutions.”

“I lost my house and an olive mill. In 2013, an investor transformed the mill into a textile factory. Additionally, [I lost] a piece of land planted with nearly 500 olive trees on the road to the adjacent A’bodan village,” another displaced civilian from Afrin,” Asaad Yousef said.

Furthermore, Muhsin Salim, a displaced Yezidi from Afrin,  said that his house is occupied by an Arab from Homs. 

“He broke the locks and settled in. However, I am unsure if he was involved in the looting or not. Additionally, the armed group controlling our village had cut down 25 of my 50 olive trees, just as they axed numerous trees across the village.”