Damascus Government racketeers shops’ owners with royalties

About 50% of the shop owners on Al-Talal Street in Aleppo preferred to close and sell their shops and think about leaving those areas, rather than the daily blackmailing operations they are subjected to by the security branches of the Damascus government.

Damascus Government racketeers shops’ owners with royalties
Damascus Government racketeers shops’ owners with royalties
Damascus Government racketeers shops’ owners with royalties
26 December 2023   08:15

Day after day, the number of closed shops in the city of Aleppo increases due to the imposition of taxes, which has caused them to rush to emigrate in light of the deteriorating economic conditions that the country is going through.

The city of Aleppo was described as the economic capital of Syria. Due to the diversity of its industries, crafts and professions, the escalation in the frequency of attacks and violent battles during the years of the Syrian crisis led to the departure of thousands of professionals working in establishments and workshops, increasing unemployment in the city and affecting the entire Syrian economy.

Although the Damascus government took control of the entire governorate center in 2016, the situation did not improve, for many reasons, the most important of which is the exorbitant taxes imposed by the various security branches, which are increasing day by day in number and value, and for illogical reasons.

The city of Aleppo is experiencing a state of tension as a result of the Al-Khatib Branch in Damascus, affiliated with the General Intelligence Department (known as “Branch 251”) in the Damascus government, imposing monthly royalties on shop owners, preventing those who do not pay from working, and threatening to close their shop.

The "Al-Khatib Branch" opened an office in the city of Aleppo in 2022, and published its patrols to follow up on the city's merchants, especially owners of electric generators, and most commercial and industrial activities until they were heading towards closure in light of the continued restrictions on them.

In the same context, informed sources confirmed to our agency’s correspondent from the Aleppo City Council that the shops on Al-Talal Street, known as the city’s inner trade hub, have become almost empty.

The sources noted that since the beginning of this year until now, more than 173 commercial stores out of 365 stores on the street have been closed. As for the reason for the closure, they said that it came as a result of the imposition of huge financial taxes estimated at millions by the aforementioned Al-Khatib branch on the well-known stores in the city.

One of the owners of a commercial business in the city of Aleppo, who preferred not to reveal his name, told ANHA agency correspondent that the reason for closing the shops is primarily the increase in taxes, which are now being imposed from more than one branch. He mentioned during his speech (the secret office, the Al-Khatib branch, and the tax branch affiliated with to the Ministry of Finance).

The second reason, according to him, is the weak purchasing power of the people as a result of the deterioration of their living conditions, due to the lack of harmony between income and expenses, which made the majority of them close their shops, while the rest are thinking about closing the shops or selling them, and thinking about emigrating from the region, preferring that to being subjected to blackmail.

T/ Satt.