Afifa Kalou: The siege on Shahba causes immense consequences

The Syrian regime's blockade of Shahba canton has hampered the area's rehabilitation and increased the problems faced by forcibly displaced people.


Shahba - Afifa Kalou, co-chair of the Agriculture Committee in Shahba canton in north and east Syria, said the harm and impact of the Syrian regime's blockade on the region is unquantifiable. She emphasized that it is an impediment to the displaced people establishing a decent living and finding work.

The regime's callous attitude against thousands of displaced people from Afrin and inhabitants of Shahba canton in NE Syria continues, with a direct impact on the region's economy and exacerbating the problems faced by the people amid the conflicts in Syria.

Since the start of the Syrian war, the Shahba canton has been subjected to devastation and directly targeted by armed factions. The people living in the canton suffer from many problems, and the economy in the canton is ruined.

The economy of Shahba canton mostly depends on agriculture, however owing to a shortage of essential agricultural supplies such as fertilizers, seeds, and other supplies, as well as a lack of fuel oil prevent the people from doing agriculture. The rate of people working in agriculture has decreased in recent years due to the attacks of Turkey Turkish and armed factions targeting farmers and agricultural lands from Al-Bab area to Afrin.

According to experts, farmers suffered significant losses during harvesting seasons, which is the primary reason for high vegetable and fruit prices.

Speaking about the issue, Afifa Kalo, the co-chair of the Agriculture Committee in the Afrin region, pointed out the ongoing Syrian crisis and its terrible implications on all sectors.

"Shahba canton has been suffering from the siege imposed by the Syrian government in many ways and the siege also affects the displaced people of Afrin and the inhabitants of Shahba since the relocation of the people of Afrin to it and even before that," she said.

"Even if the Syrian regime allows some materials into the region, it imposes exorbitant taxes on them, loots some of them from their owners, stops them on the roads from time to time until the materials are taken away as well as rendered unfit for use, and they impose conditions that are unacceptable to the management and merchants," she continued.

"We're having trouble securing primary materials for farmers such as seeds and fertilizer," she said of the challenges and obstacles they face as the Agriculture Committee.

"Since the region is constantly subjected to an ongoing siege, we are keen that the basic material of wheat and barley be accessible to the residents of the region and permanently available," Afifa Kalou made clear the agricultural committee's interest in wheat and barley cultivation in the region.

"The blockade prevents us from launching economic projects that will create job opportunities for local people and expand the types of crops grown in the canton, such as vegetables and fruits," she said at the end of her speech, emphasizing that the siege being imposed on Shahba canton has caused incalculable harm to the region's economy and people.