Aleppo’s Sheikh Maqsoud siege aims to submit AANES,  politician

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – An official of the Future Syria Party said today that the siege imposed by the Syrian government on Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in Aleppo city, aims to “control that region and submit the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) to its demands.”

Both Kurdish-majority Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh neighborhoods, northern Aleppo, are semi-autonomous and run by a civil administration.

The two neighborhoods, in addition to the IDPs camps and villages in the northern countryside of Aleppo are housing the IDPs of Afrin who fled the violations and the invasion of the Turkish army and the Turkish-backed armed opposition factions since their control of Afrin in 2018.

For nearly two weeks, the Fourth Armored Division of the government forces has been denying the entry of foodstuff to Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh.   

Ahmad Sultan, the Deputy Secretary of the Future Syria Party, said the government, by its siege on the region, aims to put the neighborhood under its control so it could submit the AANES to its demands.

He also clarified that these measures are due to the hard living conditions in the government-held areas and losing part of the oil revenue.

Sultan added that Damascus has tried several times to thwart AANES project, based on its success in penetrating the opposition and putting it in a real crisis. 

He pointed out that Damascus is now following the “style of laying sieges on safe areas, as it does in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, whose majority population are Kurds, and is run by a civil administration that does not adhere to the whims of Damascus.”

Members of the government-affiliated security committee in Aleppo has imposed rigorous measures on the Sheikh Maqsoud entrances, northern Aleppo. 

Among the applied measures is restricting the amount of money carried by those entering the neighborhood to 150,000 Syrian Pounds (SYP) at maximum, as well as prohibiting the neighborhood’s residents from receiving remittances from the money transferring and currency exchange offices.

Many Aleppo residents are heading to Sheikh Maqsoud, as it provides better livelihoods and has more economic activity.

Damascus is trying to “create a state of chaos in these neighborhoods so it can expand its control and displace its residents,” according to Sultan. 

The two neighborhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh have become a safe haven for many people from both inside and outside the city of Aleppo. This has led to the activation of trade and industrial movement, but the Syrian government besiege them frequently. 

Also, both Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyeh enjoy security and stability better than that of the other neighborhoods in Aleppo, which made them to be a target of the armed opposition factions several times.

The neighborhoods are separated from the other neighborhoods in Aleppo by three government security checkpoints; Ashrafiyeh, Awared, and Maghsalat al-Jazira. 

Reporting by Ammar Haydar