Wed 14 Nov 2018

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Northern Aleppo’s People Await the Opening of the First Crossing with Syrian Regime

Removal of the earth mounds before the opening of the new crossing north of Aleppo - December 2017 (Enab Baladi)

Removal of the earth mounds before the opening of the new crossing north of Aleppo - December 2017 (Enab Baladi)

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The people in northern Aleppo are waiting for the results of opening the first humanitarian crossing between the Syrian regime and the opposition in the region. In the act of waiting, they try to find a positive change in their living conditions, through trade away from the areas under the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” in the region.

The road links the opposition-held areas, in the northwest of Aleppo, with the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) control points, in the city of Afrin, to reach the regime’s regions in Nubl and al-Zahraa.

The Free Army factions plan to open a humanitarian and commercial crossing north of Aleppo in the next few days after it was scheduled for Saturday, December 9, and was delayed due to some “necessary” equipment, according to the factions.

The crossing is located in the western part of al-Bab city, close to al-Shamawiya village, which is under the control of Assad’s forces. However, the officials’ response given to Enab Baladi, concerning the details about the opening process, were brief.

Mohammed al-Yassir, a resident of al-Bab, said that opening the crossing would reduce the cost of food, medicine and fuel, which had increased during the past period because they pass through the areas under the “Uints” in Afrin.

 “The item that is usually sold for a 100 Syrian pounds reaches the region with 200 Syrian pounds as a price after paying royalties to the Kurds. The shop owner sells it only after adding his own benefit,” Mohammad added while speaking about how the prices are doubling due to these reasons. 

According to the young man, many of the people are scared to head towards Afrin fearing detention. He wished that the crossing would reduce the mentioned repercussions, “in case, the factions succeeded in running it correctly.”

A Road to Alleviate Suffering

According to Enab Baladi sources, the road is a humanitarian and a commercial alternative for the one under the Kurdish “Units,” which impose high fees on trades, and demand more than 2000 Syrian pounds to allow the passage of a single person through its regions.

“Abu Al-Walid Al-Azi,” a leader in “Sultan Murad Division,” said that initiating the crossing “is to reduce the suffering of people in Aleppo’s western and eastern countryside.” He pointed out that the coordination with the Syrian regime is done through a third party, which he refused to name while some expect that the issue relate to Turkey or Russia.

To Enab Baladi, he confirmed that the crossing would be free for all. “It will not demand royalties for it aims to reduce the prices of basic goods in the region,” pointing out that ” the Kurdish Units are controlling the people’s passage and trades in their regions.”

According to the leader, the crossing opens at 8:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm every day, but not on Fridays, “unless there were exceptional situations, such as ambulatory cases.” He pointed out, that the crossing is being prepared for cars and freight trucks after removing earth mounds from the regions and cleaning the road.

According to the leader, the crossing deprives the Kurdish Units of the taxes they are imposing on the goods passing through their areas in the liberated north, which usually come from Idlib or Aleppo and vice versa, in addition to the Regime’s taxes which increase the prices of the goods.”

The crossing reduces the hardship of travel and the length of the road, shortening the distance to the regime’s areas.

The people expect the crossing to ease their burdens, especially as it is the only direct route from the area to the city of Aleppo, without passing through the areas of the Kurdish “Units”.

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