US-backed PKK moves drug cultivation industry to Syria’s Manbij
MİDDLE EAST

US-backed PKK moves drug cultivation industry to Syria’s Manbij

The drug trade supplies PKK terrorists with $1.5 billion, making up its most important source of income, as the terror group is said to control 80 percent of Europe’s drug trafficking

News Service Yeni Şafak

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror group has moved its drug cultivation and trafficking operation to Syria’s Manbij under U.S. protection, following the disruption of its illicit drug activities in northwestern Afrin after Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch cleared the area of PKK presence.

The drug trade supplies PKK terrorists with $1.5 billion, making up its most important source of income, as the terror group is said to control 80 percent of Europe’s drug trafficking.

Special protection for factories

The drugs are being cultivated and processed in fields and factories in PKK-controlled regions south of Manbij.

The factories are said to enjoy a high level of protection from the terror group as the Manbij-cultivated drugs are smuggled worldwide through the southeastern route.

An upcoming operation by Turkey in Manbij is expected to take out these factories as the PKK will be deprived of yet another drug smuggling route.

Report lifts veil on Manbij drug trade

As the U.S. continues to conduct joint patrols with the PKK, the terror group carries on committing crimes against humanity as it takes part in global drug smuggling activities.

A special team that has been working for months on a report is set to shed light on the Manbij drug trade after closely monitoring terrorists involved in the city’s drug hierarchy.

The report, which is set to be shared with intelligence services, will include the names and aliases of PKK terrorists involved in the drug trade, in addition to coordinators and photos of factories and drug shipments. It is expected to deal a great blow to the Manbij drug operations.

Cannabis was planted in PYD-occupied areas that included thousands of acres of land that provided the bulk of agriculture in pre-war in Syria.

The PKK/YPG controls an area of about 53,000 square kilometers with a percentage of 28.6 of Syrian territory.

Turkey’s Olive Branch deals blow to PKK’s drug activities in Afrin

After seizing close to 120 hectares of arable lands between 2012- 2017, the PKK turned Afrin into the Middle East’s biggest drug cultivation and trading region, according to a previous report by Yeni Şafak daily.

A report for earlier this year shed light on drug cultivation in PKK-occupied Raqqa.

“After Operation Olive Branch, a number of drug traffickers fled to Tal Abyad and Hasakah, but the majority resettled in Raqqa. Dozens of businesses in the city’s industrial zone were turned into drug factories. Raqqa became the new center of drug cultivation and trafficking to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, and Gulf and European countries,” according to eyewitness accounts.

The Turkish military cleared a 2,500 square-mile (4,000 square-kilometer) area from Daesh and YPG/PKK terrorists as part of the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in Syria.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been conducting armed violence in the southeastern part of Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the three-decade long conflict.

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