• Wednesday, July 3, 2024 at 7:27 AM
    Last Update : Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 12:53 PM

Crossing Opening Between Syria and Aleppo Triggers Protests

(AWP) - Widespread protests erupted after the opening of the Abu al-Zendin crossing in Aleppo near the city of Al-Bab in northern Syria. The crossing separated an area controlled by Russian and Turkish forces with Ankara-backed factions (primarily the Syrian National Army) from Syrian government-controlled areas in the northeastern part of the province.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, scores of residents of al-Bab and its countryside, along with displaced people from Deir Ezzor and Raqqa, protested the opening earlier this week, storming the crossing and destroying its facilities.

Anti-Syrian regime locals fear that the crossing, reopened under a Russian-Turkish agreement, will be exploited for political gains for President Bashar Assad’s regime, at the expense of the opposition.

Maher Aliwi, a local resident and university student in al-Bab, said, “This is a process of normalizing the regime in the liberated areas and the beginning of accepting the regime in those areas. Today it’s the Abu al-Zendin crossing, tomorrow it will be the Saraqib crossing, and the day after that, we do not know. Perhaps we will see the regime’s flags in the centre of Al-Bab or Azaz and other places?”

He added, “This is a purely political issue. The political leaders of the liberated areas or the Syrian revolution are condemning the regime in all international forums and everywhere the regime is present, and today we are opening a crossing for all goods to enter including [the stimulant] captagon and other goods, and we applaud and welcome those who bombed us with planes and those who killed our children.”

Others called for strict supervision of the opened crossing.

Ibrahim Zakour, another university student in al-Bab, said, “If it is necessary to open the crossing, and I believe that in the end we are forced to open it, then it should be under conditional controls with civilian committees overseeing it. The most important thing is that since the regime is the world’s leading trafficker in drugs and captagon, it will certainly not hesitate to export it to us. Consequently, they will drain the resources of the liberated [areas].”

Civil society activist, Sham Farouki, also believes opening the crossing will cause harm politically, saying, “Previously, the crossing was closed, but now the regime will use its opening as a winning card, saying that the opposition is satisfied with its opening and satisfied that there will be an exchange between them and us, whether economically or regardless of the exchange that is going to happen. Therefore, as the opposition, we are unequivocally dissatisfied with the opening of the crossing because it will cause us great harm.”

The opening of the crossing, which has been closed for years, aims to facilitate trade exchange, but many people in the region fear that it will pose an economic and security threat, in addition to opposition warnings that it could lead to normalising ties with Assad’s regime.