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“Le courage c’est de chercher la vérité et de la dire ; c’est de ne pas subir la loi du mensonge triomphant qui passe, et de ne pas faire écho, de notre âme, de notre bouche et de nos mains aux applaudissements imbéciles et aux huées fanatiques ”.” – Djordje Kuzmanovic

jeudi 3 décembre 2015

Blog repost: Syria looting and Turkish connections


This week's revelations made by Moscow concerning the illegal oil trade between Turkey and the Islamic State overshadows another shady aspect of the Syrian conflict, namely pillage of industrial machinery and parts on a massive scale in the Aleppo region.
More information on the Turkish connection with the military style pillaging & asset-stripping of Syria:

“According to French geopolitical analyst, Thierry Meyssan, Recep Erdoğan “organised the pillage of Syria, dismantled all the factories in Aleppo, the economic capital, and stole the machine-tools.”
Half of the non-operational facilities were dismantled and taken to Turkey. We don’t know who plundered it, but Turkey is the responsible party. This is why the Aleppo Chamber of Industry and Commerce is taking the issue to international courts."

The article contains a video of the looted machinery:

The article briefly mentions the issue of electricity and water supplies in Aleppo.  It should be noted that the US previously bombed an Aleppo power station, and more recently bombed a water pumping station. In the ongoing war of words, where the US often criticises the Russians for not bombing IS, the fact the the US-led air coalition sees fits to bomb civilian infrastructure is telling.  Even UNICEF could not stay quiet over the latest bombing. 
UNICEF calls for end to attacks on civilian infrastructure after air strike cuts water supplies to Aleppo:

“In Syria, the rules of war, including those meant to protect vital civilian infrastructure, continue to be broken on a daily basis.”
"The air-strike which reportedly hit al-Khafseh water treatment plant in the northern city of Aleppo last Thursday is a particularly alarming example.

 This in the genetic make up of the US & NATO air forces since it is not new,  Iraqi, Libya and Serbian were heavily bombed in order to create unsafe and unhygienic conditions.  


L’Orient le Jour Interview
Translated from the French

My factory was the IS HQ in Aleppo

Farès el-Chehabi, businessman from Aleppo & Sunni, the president of the Chamber of commerce and industry of Syria, relates the devastation caused by four years of war on his city and its surroundings. Since September 2011, he is registered on the list of individuals sanctioned by the European Union, accused of providing economic support to the regime.

What were the consequences of the war on the industrial area of Aleppo ?
Aleppo was the economic capital of Syria. We had over 80 000 factories. More than any city in the Middle East. In 2011, as early as the second month of the war, the destruction and looting began. From the first months, the rebels distributed leaflets demanding the closure of our businesses; otherwise they would be burned down. They sent these threats to all the shops and businesses. Immediately, the people became very afraid. About twenty of my friends, manufacturers, members of the Chamber of commerce, were murdered because they refused to close down their factories. In 2011, the rebels reduced to ashes more than 100 factories.
One of my factories was in Sheikh Najjar, the largest industrial area. The rebels seized in 2011. I was told that it didn’t belong to me anymore and that I didn't have the right to claim it back under threat of reprisals. My factory, which produced olive oil, I thought was in the hands of the Syrian Free Army  (FSA), was in fact the headquarters of the Islamic State (IS). Once retaken back in July 2014, I noted the damage. The walls were painted with the IS flag, there were jihadists clothing, their leaflets…  I noticed that there were almost 500 children in the area who had been deprived of education for two years. So I decided to turn this factory into a free school.
You have accused the Turkish government of being behind the looting of the factories in Aleppo...
Yes. And I have serious proof. I have filed two complaints against the Turkish government, with the courts of Strasbourg and The Hague. I have gathered solid evidence, videos, confessions and witnesses. Many manufacturers called me in a panic telling me that the rebels were in their factory and that there were Turkish experts with them. The armed men do not know the difference between the different production lines of a factory. They do not know how to disassemble the machines without damaging them. This is why the Turkish experts were present, to choose their loot and send it to Gaziantep, Adana... I've received more than 5,000 manufacturers'’ complaints, victims of theft. The loot went to Turkey with the complicity of the Turkish police. It is impossible to move the plant equipment so easily. Some of the machines are 20, 30 meters long. They used trucks, moved over the border crossings, not through olive tree fields. It is organized smuggling. They have gutted the industrial areas of Aleppo. It is a field of ruins.
Today, how is Aleppo organizing its survival?
Over the past nine months, we no longer have the Internet. Since the road Hama-Aleppo has been liberated, everyday life products arrive easily. The water is controlled by al-Nusra (a branch of the Syrian el-Qaeda). The UN declared it a terrorist organization in 2014. The National Syrian Coalition tries to make al-Nusra acceptable, encouraging them to cut theirs ties with el-Qaeda, so that they can join the moderate forces. The Front controls much of the electricity. And the large power plant is under IS control. So we have very, very little electricity in Aleppo. The government negotiates with them. "The terrorists" tell us : "We give  Aleppo 5 % of the electricity and  take the rest. "Which is the equivalent to 5 megawatts for 3 million people. This is not negotiation; it is blackmail for electricity as water (supply). We are waiting for the retaking of the largest power station near to the Kweires airport. Nobody can attack it, because there is a risk of contamination, radiation... We have another power station in Zorba, which should be freed in the next few days.
Did the people of Aleppo living in the government controlled area fear that the regime was going to let them fall?
A lot of people were frustrated in the beginning and furious too, as they felt abandoned. We were not able to defend ourselves against the rebels. We were faced with two choices:  either destroy what remains of Aleppo ourselves and fight, or lay siege to it without destroying the city. And this is the second option that is in progress.
People sell off their old Aleppo houses just to leave. And the most targeted are the Christians and Armenians. Only 10 000 Armenians remain in Aleppo, while they were more than 200 000 before the war. I've visited the patriarchs and priests of all the communities, and all say the same speech: those who attack them are Islamists who want to force them to leave the country. But the Islamists seem to forget that the Christian community in Aleppo is not a visitor. They are the original inhabitants of the city. They were there before the Muslims. And there is hope that one day, Christians will come back.
You criticize the rebels but at the same time, the Syrian government buys the oil from IS...
Already, this oil is not IS’s. It belongs to the Syrians. Therefore, if a group controls my production of wheat, cotton or oil, it is my job to free my factory or to buy the production by all means possible. It belongs to me. Therefore, it is hypocritical to point the finger at the Syrian government's efforts that buys up the oil from IS to give it to its citizens. And furthermore the regime bombs some oil fields.
What do you think of the upcoming elections, decided on in Vienna, which will take place in 18 months ?
We decide who should govern through free elections. We have no problem if these elections are organized by an international organization as long as it is not corrupt.  If you want a president to leave, organize elections. But we do not accept the rebel groups as Jaesh al-islam or others.
Let the so called "moderate" groups participate in the elections. If they win, we will be forced to accept it. It is the law of the ballot.  But no one really wants elections and demanding that the president resigns. Because they know that if Bashar al-Assad participates in them, he will win. It will not be a majority, maybe not 90 %, but 45 % would be enough for him to win. And, for the moment, no one on the opposition side can rally as many votes.

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