“Syrian National Coalition” warns against pistachio orchards seizures northern Syria
The “National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces” has warned against the Syrian regime forces’ seizure of pistachio orchards in several areas of the Syrian north.
The warning comes after the Military and Security Commission in Hama province has announced an auction to ensure the investment of pistachio farmlands owned by people residing in Syrian opposition factions-controlled areas.
The “Syrian National Coalition” stated that Syrian regime forces had seized thousands of dunums of pistachio and olive orchards in large areas of northern Hama countryside, the southern countryside of Idlib, and the eastern areas of Maaret al-Numan city, after the displacement of its residents.
On 24 July, the Department of Media and Communications of the “Syrian National Coalition” released a statement in which it mentioned that the regime’s forces prevented the relatives of the displaced residents of these areas following the recent military campaign, or anyone else to take care of these lands or to reap its crops on behalf of their owners.
According to the statement, the Syrian regime did not recognize the displaced persons’ power of attorney to their relatives and used “intimidation” methods to keep agricultural lands untilled and unused.
The “Syrian National Coalition” considered that the regime’s auctions to distribute “thousands” of pistachio planted dunums to be shared by agents of the regime as the harvest season approaches, as an “organized looting operation” that violates the rights of displaced persons, and prevents their return to their areas.
It called on the international community and human rights organizations’ urgent intervention to prevent the regime’s control of that region, describing it as a “crime.”
The “Syrian National Coalition” stressed that all “pillaging and appropriation” practices and “threat and harassment” policies of the regime should be stopped, including preventing people from managing their property, livelihoods, and harvesting their crops in ways guaranteed by international laws and regulations.
It also demanded sufficient guarantees to allow the displaced people to dispose of and manage their property freely, whether in person or through their relatives or legal agents.
Previously the “Asset Management Committee” of the Head of the Military and Security Commission in Hama province has declared an auction for the investment of pistachio farmlands owned by people residing in areas held by the Syrian opposition factions.
The auction included the pistachio farmlands in the cities and towns of Mahardah, al-Lataminah, Latmin, Kafr Zita, and al-Zaka north-western Hama city.
The committee announced the conditions that must be available for citizens applying to the auction.
The conditions included that the applicant must not be banned from participating in auctions or contracting with public entities nor under provisional or execution seizure of assets by state authorities.
The committee also required that applicants must not be members of the executive offices of the province’s local administration, convicted of a felony or an offense, or have inflicted previous damage to lands.
As for the necessary documents, the committee required a photocopy of the applicant’s criminal record and personal identity card, a civil registration record, or a certified photocopy of power of attorney with the name, address, and country location of the legal agent of the participant.
Meanwhile, most farmers are unable to reach their pistachio farmlands in the northern countryside of Hama and the southern countryside of Idlib after the Syrian regime’s control over the area.
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