A fight erupted between FSA Shamiya Front and Ahrar alSham at the border crossing of Bab Salama over a barrier situated between Afrin and Azaz.
On Sunday, clashes took place in Azaz between Shamiya Front and Ahrar alSham after Azaz Central court granted Shamiya Front a barrier situated on the road between Azaz and Afrin to FSA Shamiya Front. Ahrar alSham rejected the court decision in a statement on Monday and attacked the barrier. In a war of statements, Ahrar alSham announced a crackdown on what the movement labels “Corrupted Security Cells” and “Separatist Groups”, and accused leading figures in the FSA Shamiya Front to supply the PYD in Afrin with arms and gears.
Under the regime, the Hajjanas were controlling the border and running the trafficking that helps many in Assad’s family and regime officials to get richer.
When the war erupted, FSA took over Azaz and the border crossing from the Regime. Back in 2013, Daesh and FSA Asifat alShamal fought over Azaz. Daesh wanted to control the border from Raqqa to Latakia. Some commanders in Asifat alShamal were then, accused of corruption and were executed. After that attack the FSA group dissolved.
Today, the same arguments are launched by Ahrar alSham (Jihadi Group) against one of the largest FSA group in the north. No one is dupe that the fight is to control the trade barriers that generates financial profits coupled with the control of a strategic position.
Zaman alWasl mentions
the Turkish Yeni Safak long article on the excesses and irregularities in Bab Salama border crossing management. Among those excesses, arm supply to Daesh and PYD and smuggling PYD and Daesh fighters into Turkey, in addition to some int’l organizations collaborating with this network such as Mercy Corps, Medical Relief International,Medical Corps. The Turkish newspaper also reveals that some $1.5 millions on average go every month to the accounts of the group in Turkey, and the collaboration with US officers based in Incirlik to smuggle weapons to the PYD through Qustul Jandal road.
- 200 trucks/day cross into Syria at a rate of $2000 tax/truck
- Illegal smuggling exceeds $80 000-110000/day.
- $1500-2000/person PYD or Daesh who want to cross into Turkey.
The Turkish newspaper highlights some names already known of the group, i.e Zakaria Eid alias Abu Ali Sajo, Mustafa Khalid Kurj (pictures published in Yeni Safak). Sajo and Kurj run militias strong of 100 men.
Zakaria Eid is the security responsible of the border crossing
Mustafa Khalid Kurj the responsible fo Shamiya Front Relation office
This issue is very old and the fight is as well for huge commercial and financial returns as the control of a strategic position. The NC must create a border forces to control the border crossings and all the returns should benefit the population and help built projects in the liberated areas. No one, and surely not the jihadi groups, in Syria owns the label of purity.
N.B. The latest development: Ahrar and Shamiya Front have apologized for their behaviour and decided to settle that issue in court.