Blocking crossings ... systematic policy against administration of NE Syria

The parties to the conflict in Syria use crossings as a mean of blackmail to pass their agendas in the regions of northern and eastern Syria, undermine the Autonomous Administration (AA) and make the people starve.

The regions of northern and eastern Syria are rich in natural resource and underground wealth, in which there are rivers, agricultural lands, oil and gas which made them a basket of food and energy for Syria in general; nevertheless, they have suffered from the systematic policies of the Baath government for decades, depriving the people of the region of these resources.

With the beginning of the Syrian crisis, starting in 2012, the battles in the country, as well as the policies applied by the intervening forces caused the fleeing of skilled scientific professionals out of the country, which led to a defect and a shortage of administrative, scientific and professional cadres throughout the country.

Faced this exceptional reality, the AA in North and East Syria has tried to lay the foundations for a distinct economic system that attracts both the workforce and investors, and has been able to take good steps compared to the rest of the Syrian regions, whether under the control of the Syrian government or mercenary groups and Turkey.

However, the attacks that the region was exposed to and are still being carried out by ISIS mercenaries, Jabhet al-Nusra, the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries have negatively affected the development of the economic situation in the region. In addition to all sides striving to besiege NE Syria by closing the crossings with it and preventing the entry of various materials, especially food to it with the aim of making the AA kneel down and turn people against it.

In the regions of NE Syria, there are official crossings that were open before the crisis and they are Tel Koçer / Al-Yarobiyya “Rabia” crossing, the Qamishlo crossing “Nuseibin Gate”, and Girê Spî / Tel Abyad crossing “Akjekla”, but these crossings were closed by the Iraqi and Turkish authorities that argued that they only deal with governments despite the fact that they opened the Girê Spî crossing during the period of ISIS occupation of the city, and opened crossings in the cities it controlled with its mercenaries such as Jarabulus, Azaz and Idlib.

Manbij crossings and extortion by the Syrian government and the Turkish regime

After the crisis and the liberation of the areas of northern and eastern Syria from ISIS, and the Syrian areas being subject to different control, these areas have become open to each other through internal crossings, in addition to the crossings with the neighboring countries previously.

The regions of northern and eastern Syria are subject to the policy of starvation by the parties involved in the Syrian issue by closing these crossings. Manbij city, which is the gateway to the entry into the regions of northern and eastern Syria, is linked with the areas of government forces control via a crossing that has turned into an instrument at the hands of the government to put pressure on the AA of North and East Syria.

The government often closes the crossing to foodstuffs entering the region or imposes royalties and large taxes on the materials, which affects their prices so that their prices become higher than the purchasing capacity of citizens.

There is also "Om Jelud" crossing which is controlled by Turkey's mercenaries, as it is opened and closed according to the Turkish orders, and Turkey follows the same policy of the regime by imposing royalties and taxes on the materials entering the region, which are limited to the materials of Turkish origin. Furthermore, food, medicine and health equipment are always prevented from entering northern and eastern Syria.

Semalka crossing ... a tool for achieving political gains

One of the important crossings for northern and eastern Syria is the Semalka crossing with Başûr Kurdistan, and this crossing is under the control of the Kurdistan Democratic Party whose policies do not differ much from the policies of the Syrian government and the Turkish regime, as this party uses the crossing as a means of pressure on the administration of northern and eastern Syria to achieve some of the political goals and gains, and to pass its agendas in the region, so the crossing is closed from time to time.

Tel Koçer crossing: a Russian-American conflict whose tax is paid by the people

As for Tel Koçer crossing which is located in the town of Tel Koçer/Al-Yarobiyya and is crossed by “Rabia” crossing from the Iraqi side, it is considered one of the most important crossings linking Syria and Iraq to each other, and the Iraqi authorities have closed them since the liberation of the town by the People Protection Units (YPG) at the end of 2013 from Jabhet al-Nusra and ISIS, as all types of trade were stopped and any materials were brought into the north and east of Syria.

But the Security Council allowed the use of this crossing, along with three other crossings with Jordan and Turkey, in accordance with the 2014 resolution to deliver aid to Syria by the United Nations (UN).

This crossing remained dedicated to humanitarian aid until the beginning of this year. On January 10, after a Russian threat to use veto against the UN mandate and with the support of China, the Security Council formally crossed Tel Koçer crossing and al-Ramtha crossing at the Jordanian-Syrian border from list of permissible border crossings, which stopped all United Nations cross-border aid to this area.

Russia is opposed to opening Tel Koçer crossing for its desire to impose a new fait accompli on the international system so that all aid passes through the government, thanks to which it has regained control of more than half of the country. In this way, Russia wants to impose its policy and return the region to the authority of the regime and legalize it.

Analysts believe that Russia is trying to pressure the American side to accept the authority of the regime in all Syrian lands in an attempt by the Russians to bring back the regime's domination once again, and to open the way for the government to coordinate with other countries by all means starting with America.

In this context, the former adviser to the French Foreign Ministry, Dr. Manaf Kelani, said, "If there is currently any common denominator among all countries whose forces today participate formally and publicly or in a hidden and timid manner in military operations in the Kurdish-majority north and east region, it with no doubt that a rejection to facilitate a new political presence for this Kurdish majority, whatever form or proposition the Kurdish parties could present.

He pointed out that the United States uses the northern and eastern regions of Syria where it has military bases as a "barter card" in any future political equation that can be formed with Moscow through U.S.-Russian negotiations that are not only related to the Syrian issue, but intervention in all international files that the two superpowers are involved in.

He made clear: "Unlike the Americans, Russian policies did not show any sensitive variations regarding the Syrian issue. The Russian forces have provided continuous support for one and simple priority that is to restore the regime's control on the current Syrian regime in Damascus, which is implicitly recognized not only by Ankara, but by Washington and other Atlantic capitals seeking to reopen their embassies in Damascus, even if this matter was postponed until after the end of the Corona virus crisis.

Russian false accusations

Russia, which violates its Soviet legacy which relies on supporting the liberation movements and assisting the oppressed peoples, is now adopting a policy quite similar to that of the colonial states that used to take it as an enemy in previous periods. It also seeks to starve the people of northern and eastern Syria to achieve its interests in Syria.

In an attempt to legalize the blockade imposed on the region and make the AA kneel, Russia issued a joint statement with the Syrian government on May 13th, in which it accused that the purpose of opening Tel Koçer crossing is to transfer weapons "to the Kurdish formations" according to its claim, and the passage of militants and those infected with Corona virus to the lands of neighboring countries in addition to smugglings.

But the AA of North and East Syria responded to these accusations and said: "This talk is inaccurate and has to do with political positions and agendas of Russia and the Syrian government, the purpose of which is to block this region and exert political pressure on the AA. These attitudes have nothing to do with the interests of the Syrian people."

 The AA confirmed that closing Tel Koçer crossing at a time when the Corona virus threatens the region, and denying it the receipt of the necessary materials to face this epidemic such as PCR devices, artificial respirators, sterilizers, medicines, etc., in addition to economic distress due to the depreciation of the value of the Syrian pound will lead to a humanitarian disaster. It confirmed: "We confirm that this crossing was used only for the entry of humanitarian items."

The AA pointed out that the assistance provided by the coalition countries to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to confront ISIS is entering through another crossing that has no connection to Tel Koçer / Al-Yarobiyya crossing.

Weaknesses

The former advisor at the French Foreign Ministry, Dr. Manaf Kelani, stated that there are continuous historic weaknesses in the Kurdish issue that are repeated without change: The first is the lack of the Kurds (in the event that they reach a political formula that unites them by overcoming the historically entrenched ideological and tribal differences) to an inclusive political body representing them at the international level at least culturally.

Second, the absence of any international ally that has a sincere desire to support them in their project, whatever the form of this project because the "veto" that the existing countries possess and within whose nationalities the Kurds are distributed is much stronger than any principles, including those called humanitarian principles that a reasonable person cannot be deceived by.

And third, which is interlinked with the first two points, is the presence of the Kurds in internal areas without a sea port within the borders of the current countries, it is difficult to reach any aid to them without the consensus of the concerned countries that will not show any kind of enthusiasm to pass any kind of aid to the areas of the Kurdish gathering, which "will always be considered as rebel and separatist groups," and this view receives a kind of timid satisfaction in Western decision-making centers despite all the allegations and statements that will not go beyond the stage of the media effort.

Demands to open the crossing

After the Corona epidemic broke out in various regions of the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) demanded that the Security Council to urgently allow the use of Tel Koçer crossing to deliver supplies to help combating the epidemic, but an updated version of the memo, on 28 April, deleted the direct appeal to re-open the crossing about four months after its use in UN operations was interrupted by a Russian Chinese veto.

On the amendments to the memo, the director Human Rights Watch of United Nations Affairs, Louis Charbonneau, said, "The WHO must stand steadfast and not bow to pressure from major powers. It is about saving lives, not avoiding criticism." He added, "The Security Council should immediately  renew the mandate using the Al-Yarobiyya crossing."

Salah al-Din Halabo, a resident of Qamishlo city said that the failure of the Syrian government and Russia to open the crossing has negative effects on the region.

He explained that Russia's claims to enter arms through the crossing are not correct, and he said, "Russia wants to put its hand on the region and the safety we enjoy, which it did not bring it to us. We have struggled and presented martyrs and therefore Russia must cooperate with the AA if it wants to solve the Syrian crisis and that the Syrians live together."

He emphasized that the closure of the crossing was a big mistake, and he concluded, "We are against the Russian agendas and interests imposed on us, and we condemn this Russian behavior. We are Syrians, and we did not come from another country."

For his part, the citizen Abdel Jabbar Abbas said: "The crossing should be opened because the economic situation of the region is very bad. Russia wants, as the Syrian regime, to starve the people of northern and eastern Syria."

He pointed out that if Russia tries, through these actions, to return the region to the Syrian regime, that will not happen."

ANHA


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