Nine months of darkness in Syria’s Afrin

29-01-2014

 

ARA News 

Afrin, Aleppo, Syria− Since nine months, residents of the the Kurdish city of Afrin, north Syria, suffer a continuous power cut. Lack of electricity in different neighbourhoods in the city forced thousands of civilians to leave their homes and cross the borders into neighbouring Turkey.

Power cut is added to other factors which contributed to the worsening living conditions in Afrin, where people suffer a sharp shortage in food and other basic supplies. The security vacuum and prevailing violence in the area deepened civilians suffering.

Under the current conditions, hundreds of families who couldn’t enter Turkey remained for a fatal destiny.

A minority in Afrin started using generators to be provided with electricity for few hours a day. However, the high price of diesel (needed for electricity generators) is unaffordable for the majority.

Other unexpected barriers are imposed on the owners of electricity generators who are forced to pay taxes to the local authority represented by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). 

According to local activists, the PYD receives 850SP a week from every owner of a generator as a tax. 

“As the PYD members are the only providers of diesel fuel in the area, they imposed a weekly tax on the owners of electricity generators,” an activist based in Afrin told ARA News.

The activist, who preferred anonymity, argued that the PYD as a Kurdish authority in Afrin “was supposed to rather help civilians cope with the hard living conditions, not to put more constraints”. 

“If the party (PYD) would really care about our lives, it would have facilitated procedures especially with regard to the basic needs of civilians,” he said. “Due to the PYD’s policies, hundreds of families left the area.” 

The PYD is a main Kurdish faction in power in Syria’s Kurdish areas. The party has established a military force (Popular Protection Units) and a security force (Assayish) to maintain peace in the Kurdish region, according to the PYD. 

The city of Afrin and its surrounding suffered blockade by Syria Islamists who −under pretext of punishing PYD’s supporters− prevented arrival of food and basic supplies to the area’s civilians for months. 

Amid the three-years-old war in Syria, power cut is considered one of the main barriers to the lives of thousands of Kurdish residents in Afrin.

 

Reporting by: Jiwan Afrini

Source: ARA News

 

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