Recently, the NE Syria regions have witnessed a series of deliberate burning of crops by unknown individuals. These acts have not only threatened the region’s food security but have also caused significant material losses to the local populace.
According to extensive investigation and monitoring conducted by our SDF special units, the causes and repercussions of these acts are ranging from intentional acts of terrorism to criminal motives.
Over the past few days, our SDF special units successfully arrested a criminal mercenary responsible for burning crops and extorting money from farmers. The criminal called Muhammad Mustafa Al-Khalaf, born in 1985 and hailing from the village of Al-Rawda in Tal Tamir, confessed to these crimes during his initial interrogations. The criminal revealed that he received SIM cards and instructions from a relative named Mahmoud, who provided him with the phone numbers of local farmers.
The criminal first targeted a farmer from the Assyrian community in the Tal Tamir area, followed by a farmer from the Kurdish community in the same region. Finally, he attempted to extort funds from a farmer from the Arab community in Deir Ezzor, who had leased agricultural land in Tal Tamir. Al-Khalaf employed threats, and extortion, and attempted to incite inter-component strife among the different ethnic communities.
Thanks to the cooperation of the local populace and thorough investigative efforts, our SDF special units successfully apprehended the criminal and dismantled this criminal network. It has been discovered that the criminal network received instructions from entities based in the Turkish-occupied areas. Ongoing investigations aim to uncover further details regarding the extent and implications of these criminal acts.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) urge all peoples of NE Syria to cooperate and promptly report any instances of extortion or threats by terrorist and criminal gangs to the relevant security and military authorities.
SDF Media Center
June 2, 2023