Turkish Army Forces (TSK) and the Syrian National Army (SNA) which is backed by Turkey have begun to transport barley from the city of Serekaniye in North-East Syria to Turkey. The TSK and SNA had attacked Serekaniye on 9 October 2019.
Fifty four tonnes of barley were reportedly transported to Turkey after the signing of a protocol between Turkey’s Agricultural Products Office (TMO) and Serekaniye Local Assembly.
Urfa Governorship in Turkey made a statement on 28 August confirming that Ceylanpınar customs gate was in operational service and that trade had increased because of this. The statement confirmed that agricultural products were sold to TMO by farmers merchants and then transported to Turkey in Turkish vehicles. The sales are being coordinated by Urfa Governorship’s Syria Support and Coordination Centre (SUDKOM).
Turkey has a history of controversially transporting crops
Turkey and a Turkey-backed organisation had previously transported 20,000 tonnes of wheat from Gire Sipi (Tal Abyed) to the storehouses of TMO that are located in Urfa. After Turkey had seized and transported these wheat and other barley supplies from the region, bread prices had rocketed in Gire Sipi. The residents of Gire Sipi held protests against Turkey’s policy in this regard. People had raided Telebyad Neighbourhood Assembly and held demonstrations against the TSK bases in the region on 22 June.
Turkey has a history of seizing agricultural produce from the regions it attacks. When Turkey and its ally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), took over the city of Efrin in the north-west of Syria, for example, it seized the olive trees and took over production. Olive oil which sustains the economy of the people in Efrin is now being sold to European Union countries with label “Turkish Olive Oil” on it. Bernhard Guhl, a Conservative Democrat Party deputy in Switzerland, has raised questions about these controversial actions and practices.
The Syria Investigation Commission of the United Nations also concluded in its 2020 report that agricultural crops from Efrin had been looted by Turkey and other Turkish-backed forces in north-east Syria.