TEL TAMR, Syria (North Press) – Under the burning sun, Abu Ibrahim is working hard growing summer vegetables in his village Um Khair in Tel Tamr, though this year he is late in working because he was displaced due to repeated shelling of Turkish forces and their affiliated armed opposition groups stationed on the outskirts of the village.
Although some farmers on the frontlines between Turkey and its armed opposition groups on one side and the Syrian government forces on the other continue to grow summer vegetables, they fear losing their crops due to the tension there.
Kheder Haj Ayo, known as Abu Ibrahim, is one of the farmers whose home and land was damaged in Rayhaniya village due to the Turkish invasion in October.
The 50-year-old farmer, roaming his fields holding his hand plough, said that Turkish invasion and theft of his land by opposition groups cost him a lot.
“Neighboring villages' farmers told me that the Free Syrian Army (Turkish-backed armed opposition groups) burned about 1,500 meters of irrigation canals and stole my generators, a water pump, and a tractor.”
“They also stole about 125 wheat bags and 75 barley bags that I hid as seeds for the coming season. This costs me about 60 million Syrian pounds, which is about 24,000 American dollars,” he added.
This year’s fires burned vast spaces of lands in Tel Tamr at harvest time, and local farmers accused Turkish-backed opposition groups of burning their lands.
Villagers from Tel Tamr and Zargan are still witnessing instability due to Turkey and its affiliated opposition groups' repeated shelling and targeting of their villages.
Abu Ibrahim said that “we live an unstable life here due to the daily shelling; we ran away to neighbouring villages and whenever it stopped we returned to our homes. We have been living the same way since opposition groups came to our region.”
Despite the high costs of agricultural projects, Abu Ibrahim planted 10 acres with different sorts of vegetables, stressing his connection to his land despite the risks he and his family face.
“Agricultural materials are very expensive and they are paid in dollars,” he added.
Sounds of gunfire
Abdul Kareem Ayo, a farmer from Qaber Kabir Sharqi village, suffers as other farmers do – work and life in his village come with a great risk.
“You can hear firing - this is what we are witnessing on the frontline; we cannot leave our villages, and we do not have another place,” he said.
Ayo planted a piece of land with summer vegetables in order to secure his family's daily needs, and he also complained about the high prices of materials.
He did not grow cotton this year due to the great costs and the clashes that took place in the area. “We live on the frontlines; if clashes took place, we would be forced to escape,” he said.
(Reporting by Delsoz Youssef, editing by Lucas Chapman)