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US imposes sanctions on 2 Turkey-backed Syrian militias and the teams’ leaders

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BEIRUT — The USA on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Turkey-backed Syrian militias and the teams’ leaders accused of human rights abuses in Syria’s northwestern, opposition-held enclave.

The teams are working within the city of Afrin, which has been beneath Turkish-backed opposition forces since 2018, following an Ankara-backed navy operation. That offensive pushed Syrian Kurdish fighters and hundreds of Kurdish residents from the world.

The Treasury Division’s Workplace of International Property Management sanctioned The Suleiman Shah Brigade and The Hamza Division, in addition to their leaders, Mohammad Hussein al-Jasim, Walid Hussein al-Jasim, and Sayf Boulad Abu Bakr.

The Suleiman Shah Brigade was accused of abductions and extortion of residents, particularly Afrin’s Kurdish residents, to pressure them to desert their houses and flee or to “pay giant ransoms for return of their property or relations”.

The Treasury mentioned The Hamza Division was additionally concerned in working detention facilities the place it held kidnapped victims for ransom who had been tortured and sexually abused.

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Mohammad Hussein al-Jasim, who leads The Suleiman Shah Brigade, allegedly ordered his forces to displace Kurdish residents and provides their property to Syrians from exterior the world “typically associated” to fighters of the brigade.

The Treasury estimated that al-Jasim was ”probably producing tens of tens of millions of {dollars} a 12 months” by way of abductions, confiscations, and ransoms.

Al-Jasim’s Turkey-based automobile dealership Al-Safir Oto was additionally listed, as a result of he allegedly invested his cash there. In accordance with the announcement, commanders of his brigade managed the dealership’s completely different branches. It was co-owned by sanctioned militia chief Ahmad Ihsan Fayyad al-Hayes, who heads the Ahrar Al-Sharqiya group.

His youthful brother, Walid Hussein al-Jasim, was accused of a number of {cases} of sexual assault, in addition to killing a prisoner unable to pay ransom in 2020.

In the meantime, the pinnacle of The Hamza Brigades, Sayf Boulad Abu Bakr, was sanctioned for the “brutal repression of the native inhabitants.” The assertion mentioned he had been concerned within the kidnapping of Kurdish ladies and severely abusing prisoners, typically killing them.

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