“The Turkish state is stealing Afrin’s olives”

Afrin Canton Agricultural Council Deputy Chairperson Saleh Ibo said the Turkish state has confiscated the people’s fields and olive groves and aims to profit and change the demographic makeup.

Afrin Canton Agricultural Council Deputy Chairperson Saleh Ibo spoke to the ANF about the Turkish state’s plans to exploit the olives of Afrin.

Ibo pointed out that some 2.6 billion barrels of olive oil will be produced from the 210.000 of olives to be harvested this year: “The Turkish state will make some 80 million dollars from Afrin olives.”


Ibo stressed that the invading Turkish state and their gangs have confiscated the fields and olive groves of people they pushed out of Afrin through bombings and violence: “They have also been confiscating the fields and olive groves of people who have had to flee Afrin due to the Turkish state violence in the 6 months since the invasion. We can say that 80% of the olives in Afrin are being taken to Turkey with no cost through the gangs and the council they formed. They also tax people who remained in Afrin 2.000 Syrian Liras for each olive tree they have.”


Ibo said the following on the Turkish state plans to take Afrin’s olives to Turkey: “Now we as the Agricultural Council have acquired information that the Turkish state is planning to take Afrin’s olives to Turkey illegitimately this olive season. Through certain European companies, and their gangs and the so-called local council they formed. They stand to make 80 million dollars from the olives they steal this way.

In recent years we as the Agricultural Council did studies in Afrin, which showed that there are more than 18 million olive trees in Afrin, 14 million of which are producing olives. There was a lot of rain this year too. So it’s an abundant year for olives. As the Agricultural Council we estimate 210.000 tonnes of green olives. 20% of that goes to olive oil production, which means there will be 2.6 billion barrels of olive oil produced.”


Ibo said looting and robbery has increased to top levels in Afrin and dozens of olive factories have had their share:

“There were 218 olive factories in Afrin, but we have information that dozens of them have been looted, their machines stolen and taken out of Afrin.

The machines the gangs stole were moved to Turkey through the gate in Azaz and Idlib. Now they are building another gate in the Hamam village in Jindirese. There are images from the construction, and they were the worst. They are cutting down olive trees to build this gate. Just those images alone show that they are deliberately killing nature in Afrin.”


Ibo said the following on the financial damage the Turkish state caused during the invasion operation and throughout the occupation itself:

“The most beautiful canton in Northern Syria used to be Afrin, it was known for it. It was a rich canton with its nature, culture and economy. That is why the invading Turkish state targeted Afrin quite deliberately. We as the Agricultural Council have monitored the process since January 20, the beginning of the Turkish state’s invasion operation until the end of the phase one. We have determined that 80% of the sources for Afrin’s economy have been hit. This is especially true for agriculture.

The invading Turkish state targeted Afrin’s forest areas in April in particular. Many trees, including olive trees, were burned. The invaders first stole 20 tonnes of Afrin’s wheat and took it to Turkey in front of the whole world to see. They bought from a very limited group of people. We as the Agricultural Council did a study that shows that the Turkish state bought produce from Afrin at 25% of what would have been an acceptable market price. Farmers and producers can’t survive like this. But they confiscated most of the wheat illegitimately in any case.”


Afrin Canton Agricultural Council Deputy Chairperson Saleh Ibo said the Turkish state aims to force people to migrate through financial ruin:

“80% of the people of Afrin made their living through olives and olive oil. The Turkish state already forced most of the people to migrate with their invasion. And now they are trying to get the remaining people to leave Afrin through violence and financial ruin to complete the demographic change.

So we as the Afrin Agricultural Council prepared a general report and submitted that to international institutions, the UN, the Red Cross, everyone. But there hasn’t been any word from these institutions and the international public regarding the Turkish state killing the nature of Afrin and Northern Syria. We believe a reaction will develop in the coming period. If it continues like this, there won’t be any Kurds left in Afrin, the demographics will completely change and Afrin’s nature will 100% get pillaged.


Since the invasion operation and the invaders entering Afrin city center on March 18, hundreds of hectares of arable land and forests have been burned down. The Turkish state, having violated the border line unlawfully for years before the invasion, cut down 4.500 olive trees and removed 1.500 other olive trees to take them to Turkey since March 18, 2018.