A few kilometers from the front-line between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkey's backed armed opposition groups, farmers in the countryside of Tal Tamr are plowing their lands to grow wheat, fearing the resumption of combat operations, and the loss of their only year-long harvest, which is the main nerve and life-line for the locals of the region.
Ali al-Khidir, a farmer told North-Press that with the start of the planting season, he hopes to grow his field, but he fears the war, in which he will lose his crop. “Our livelihood throughout the year depends on agriculture, and we have no other livelihood. We are interested in agriculture, but we don't know when the clashes may erupt in the region again, and then we would be displaced and lose everything," al-Khidr said. He stressed that, they are demanding "a guarantee on the ground from the international forces for the stability of the region, to avoid losing the fees of a year of toil, and to stay in their land and not to be displaced.”
The agricultural year doesn't pass without difficulties for farmers, due to the high prices of materials and supplies, in light of the decline of the Syrian pound against the dollar, as well as the difficulty of securing the labor for fears of being targeted, according to the farmer, Abdul Baqi Kouti. He explained that, last year flames devoured most of his agricultural crops, while in the current year they are facing high prices, most importantly the fuel oil, stressing that these families are affected a lot and reduce the agriculture as required as previous years.
In light of these difficulties, which led to the decline of the agricultural season in the region, the official in the Agricultural Department in the town of Tal Tamr, Avin Ahmad said: "The agricultural situation this year is very bad, we granted about 650 agricultural licenses last year, but this year, we have only granted 64 agricultural licenses.”
"This means an 80% decline, which confirms the impact of the war on the decline of the agricultural sector in the region,” she added.
She explained that the line of Seree-Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) has been completely out of control, and agriculture hasn't been completed this year because of the military operations. Concerning their plans to encourage agriculture for this season, Ms. Ahmad said: "We tried to encourage as much as possible by delivering free seed and fertilizer to those affected by the fire last year, and we will do our best to help farmers to save the agricultural season.”
It should be noted that, the Autonomous Administration of northeastern Syria had earlier revealed the economic damage as a result of the Turkish military and its affiliated armed groups’ invasion in the areas of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. It estimated the amount of looted wheat and barley from grain silos by more than 75,000 tons, in addition to seeds, cotton, livestock and furnaces.