As winter sets in, people living in the Kurdish-controlled canton of Shahba in northern Syria are continuing to suffer the consequences of policies of embargo imposed by the Assad government, Hawar News Agency reported on Monday.
The canton of Shahba, located in the countryside north of Aleppo close to the Turkish border, is home to more than 200,000 people, including many who have fled from Afrin, a mainly Kurdish town in northern Syria which has been controlled by Turkey and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels since 2018.
As well as dealing with the negative effects of the Turkish incursion, simultaneously have to cope with the policies of the Damascus government preventing the entry of fuel, medicine and foodstuffs into Shahba.
Berivan Khalil, co-chair of Afrin region’s Education Authority, speaking to ANHA explained that they had had to close the schools in Shahba canton for a week, for lack of fuel oil, and would have to extend the closure if the government continued to tighten the siege.
Faiq Ahmad, co-chair of Afrin region local administration, said that the administration of the canton has had to stop all service work and machinery including electricity generators for lack of fuel.
He called on international powers to put pressure on the Damascus government to lift the “suffocating siege” on the canton. The Assad government has imposed a siege on Shahba Canton for more than four years, and tightens it at the start of the winter season every year.
Shahba canton is a location of great strategic importance, and also a symbol of plurality in Syria, being home to different ethnic groups, including Kurds, Arabs, Circassians, Armenians and Turkmens, as well as urbanites from European roots.