Kobane under siege: Syria Kurds resort to smugglers


Kurdish protesters in central Kobane, north Syria. File photo

ARA News 

Kobane, Syria – The three-year crisis and the siege imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the city of Kobane (also known as Ain al-Arab) in northern Syria created unexpected social, economic and political conditions in Kobane. The crisis, which forced many people to escape, had its great impact on people who stayed, either because they do not want to leave or are not able to migrate.

According to observers, these people started to resort to “bizarre” or sometimes “illegal” economic methods to survive.

Under conditions of war and siege, criminal practices and manipulation of public prevails in the market. Under such circumstances, illegal professions like smuggling as well as used cars and hard currency trades flourish, not to mention other illegal trades such as drugs and weapons smuggling.

One of the aspects of this abnormal economy is the spread of oil products’ stalls, which is a profitable business for many people due to its acute demand for heating and operating generators after the four-month power cut in the city.

Khaled, one of the fuel sellers in Kobane, told ARA News: “It is a prosperous business as people cannot do without fuel for its diverse usages.”

The siege conditions encouraged smuggling where smugglers bring in different goods to a city like Kobane through roads held by ISIL militants, who continuously prevented providing the city with the materials needed for living.

Bozan, One of the wholesale traders, told ARA News: “Bringing-in goods to the city may cost us our lives. In the best conditions, ISIL may confiscate them so smugglers ask for more money to transport and deliver. At the end only customers will be obliged to pay more.”

Kobane city is under Siege of the ISIL militants for months. Amid the continuous outage of power and water, no food or commercial items are allowed to reach thousands of besieged Kurdish civilians.


Reporting by: Sadruddin Kino

Source: ARA News

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