SLICING THE SYRIAN GEOGRAPHY

Executive summary:  

     Civilians suffer in their traveling inside the Syria geography, in the areas that controlled by the opposite parties.

    This suffering differs from one area to another, the civilians traveling get affected due to establishing a check.

Points that open and close due to several elements, most importantly.  

The agreements that take place between the fighting parties and their local international allies, for instance:

•        Between the areas that are controlled by the opposition forces and the government’s areas:

 which between Idlib and Albab city in eastern Aleppo, and these big and small areas and crossings are considered closed until now (time of writing this report)

•        Between the areas that controlled by opposition forces and the democratic Syrian forces which start from Albab city to the Euphrates River.

All these crossing points considered closed for civilians but opened for business exchanges only.

       *Areas controlled by the democratic Syrian Forces and areas controlled by the Syrian regime forces which start at Al-Arima village west of Manbij city to Deir Alzour.

All these crossing points are officially opened.

      *Areas are controlled by the opposition forces and the Turkish forces east of the Euphrates on one hand and the democratic forces on the other

hand, there are no checkpoints or crossings for people or commercial goods.

      *Areas that controlled by the opposition forces in the area of the Euphrates Shield and the areas that controlled by the Tahrir Al-Sham headquarter in Idlib, all these points and crossing are open during the day.

Background:

when the Syrian uprising started to turn into armed conflict the warring parties started controlling areas inside the Syrian geography. Within 9 years the controlling map changed among the warring parties until it got to the current condition which was confirmed by treaties between Russian Turkish and American Russian and that produced control of three major forces which are, the Syrian government that is backed by Moscow , the opposition forces that backed by the Turkish, and the democratic Syrian force backed by the U.S.A upon that dividing the areas of controlled areas where the civilian pass through as well as goods and commercial shipments as well as the illegal ways which are known as smuggling.

The report methodology:

This report included 13 testimonies among 2 women who we were able to contact them.

The interviews took place between Dec 2020 and Feb 2021 were we met with them directly (face to face) or by contacting them in addition to return to some open resources and for secrecy and security for the people their real identities by using hick names. In between the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria areas and the Euphrates shield areas. The crossings between these areas were closed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria  authorities and then after they were opened, they got closed through the Euphrates shields through an order by the Turkish authorities.  That closing was before the pandemic of covid-19 and there are 2 crossings in this area:

1- Dadat crossing

2- Alhmran crossing

since the establishment of (Alhmran-Om Jelod) crossing was only for commercial goods, while Dadat crossing was for people and commercial goods, Dadat crossing considered like avital artery for commercial exchange, and by the way that crossing still active but was closed completely for civilians

All civilians in the report have one question, why the authorities of Dadat crossing do not allow passengers to pass through but accept some kind of fees to allow civilians to pass normally.

That is why we see those crossers in this areas use an illegal way to pass through like incognito or crossing Alsajoor river and risk the catch of them and taking them to prison and fin them financially. Instead, they usually give bribes to the Euphrates shield guards or Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria guards.

Samir (who is a military person who belongs to one of the factions) that sometimes slogger from another faction created a problem or incident when the crossing was open in order to close, the crossing because of the benefit from the smugglings.

Abu Amer, who belongs to a village close to Dadat crossing said:

once I took my aunt and her sister and bride that I do not know and I negotiate with the guard my way through by paying $200 for all 3 ladies.

I carried the body on my shoulders and crossed Alsajoor river.

Mr. Abu Ahmad lives in Turkey tells the story, a young man who is one of his relatives died in turkey, the Turkish authority permitted a body to enter Syria through Jarablus crossing which borders turkey. Then I took the body to Manbij city so his parents can bury him there. Abu Ahmad adds:  I tried to enter the body through Dadat crossing but I could not and the faction guards at the check. Point asked me to have permission from the Turkish authority to allow me to cross through. I waited all day long by the evening there was only one way to deliver the body which I carried the body on my shoulder and crossed Alsajoor river where his people were waiting for me on the other side of the river to take the body and I had to rush back be for the authority finds out and shoot me.

*Between The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria areas and the areas of Nabeh Alsalam until the time of writing this report, there are no official crossings between these areas and those areas.

This particular area is very overlapping for civilians, many of them live in The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria areas have lands and properties or business in the Nabeh al-salam areas. That is why these people are forced to adopt the smuggling ways to move around and their goods as well or pay bribes to guards from Either side such well know smuggling areas are Alshargag village and Tefaha village.

•        Between the Syrian government areas and The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syriaareas

These areas are considered easier for civilians to cross. Because there are mutual understandings between the Syrian government and self The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria to northern Syria about opening official crossings for individuals and goods to pass through legally with official documents in between these areas with long periods of waitings and lots of checkpoints.

These crossings include Altayeh crossing and Al Tabqa crossing and Al Saleheya crossing.

     Al Tayha crossing is the only passage that connects The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria areas in northeast Aleppo with the Syrian government areas. This crossing allows people that their birth and resident documents belong to Manbij only, the other group of residents that do not belong to Manbij usually take al Tabqa crossing which takes a long time to get to
Om Mohamad is a woman who lives in The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria areas, went to Aleppo recently to get some governmental documents from the Syrian officials and came back, she says we arrived Aleppo six hours later we stopped in AL Tabqa crossing for inspection and check documents and allowed us to

have only 100000 Syrian lira($50)

In addition to Al Tayha and Al Tabqa passages, there is Al Salehya passage. This passage is the only one that connects Dier Alzour province with Al Hasakeh province. They shut it down in 2020 because of covid 19 and they reopened it in 2021 after an agreement between The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and the Syrian government with the blessing of the Russian forces.

*Between the areas under the control of the opposition factions in Efrine and the and areas under the control of Tahrir Alsham faction in Idleb

There are passages in this area in Dir Blloot crossing and Al Gazawya crossing, Dir Ballot passage is designed for people and Al Gazawya passage for commercial freight both passage hours:7am to 6:30 pm

Finally, it is important to mention that the condition of these crossings change constantly

URNAMMU says the right of movement is one of the basic human rights, URNAMMU hopes that all controlling authorities over Syria adopt procedures that facilitate the moving of civilians and their commercial goods.

This report, by the way, does not cover all details of the condition of the crossing and the details of slicing off the Syrian geography but it does show a little of the catastrophe that made peoples life more difficult in a country that war lasted 10 years has shattered everything.

URNAMMU recognizes any future efforts that reflect the reality of this catastrophe.

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