Damascus government’s embargo on Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah continues

Having prevented the passage of fuel to Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah in the winter of 2023, the Damascus government is now preventing the passage of fabric to workshops and factories to the two Kurdish neighborhoods of Aleppo.

Two Kurdish neighbourhoods of Aleppo, Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah, have been subjected to a continuous embargo by the Damascus government since the occupation of Afrin. Workshops and factories, which employ 15 thousand people, are rendered inoperable due to the embargo.

The neighbourhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah have a population of over 200 thousand. They are organised under 7 assemblies and 89 communes, including three women's assemblies and 46 women's communes, four general assemblies and 43 general communes. Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah General Assembly Deputy Arîn Henan and Democratic Union Party (PYD) General Assembly Member Emîn Elîko spoke to ANF about the embargo.

‘The aim is to shake confidence in the Autonomous Administration’

Noting that an embargo was imposed on Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah after the occupation of Afrin, Emîn Elîko said, "The only thing that has changed is the way the embargo is applied. Some of the small groups affiliated to the Damascus government loosen the embargo, while others tighten it. They are exchanging among themselves. In the end, they all represent the same mentality. Their acts are aimed at breaking the will of the neighbourhood residents. This mentality, which also tries to break the morale and motivation of the population, aims to shake confidence in the Autonomous Administration."

‘The embargo aims to leave the people without food and water’

Emîn Elîko pointed out the political, social and economic dimensions of the embargo and continued: "They are doing everything they can to cause the economy in the neighbourhood with more than 200 thousand residents to collapse. These people make a living with their own labour. This labour is provided through the workshops in the neighbourhood. There are a thousand workshops and factories in the neighbourhood. The fabrics needed by the workshops are not allowed to pass through. About 15 thousand people work in these workshops and factories. If each person has at least four children, the bread of 60 thousand people is played with. The embargo aims to leave the people without food and water. They deprive a child of milk and a patient of medicine.

We have a hospital serving the people in the neighbourhood. However, the needs of the hospital cannot be met, medicine cannot be supplied, oxygen cannot be accessed. Whichever pharmacy you go to in the neighbourhood, you cannot access the medicine you want, but these medicines are available in the city of Aleppo, which is right next to us. The reason why they are not available in the neighbourhood is that the checkpoints of the Damascus government confiscate these medicines or do not allow their passage.”

‘The Damascus government is helping the enemy with its policy’

Emîn Elîko stressed that: “We are subjected to these obstacles even though they know that the people living in the neighbourhood are Syrians. Unfortunately, the people next to us also call themselves Syrians. This means that the policy being implemented is a policy of fragmentation and migration. As if the enemy's occupation of our lands is not enough, the Damascus government is helping the enemy with its policy. The enemy expelled us through occupation, while the Damascus government is trying to expel us through an embargo. Either there is a negotiation, an agreement between them, or an approach to establish a balance is taken as a basis."

Stating that the Damascus government should prefer democracy instead of an embargo, Elîko said: "Instead of choosing to oppress the Syrian people, it should choose to build a decentralised Syria based on democracy, justice and equality."

‘The government is conducting a dirty policy towards its people’

Arîn Henan stated that the passage of diesel and medical supplies was also prevented during winter and said: "There are many young children and elderly people. Finding milk is a big problem. People with chronic diseases take medicine regularly. They have not been able to access these medicines for a few months. We are facing a government that is conducting a dirty policy towards its people. If there was a government that cared about its people, the situation in Syria would not be like this. Production and project opportunities are very limited under the embargo. It is also very difficult to create working conditions. Advancing through what already exists leads to a blockage after a while."