türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 3 September 2015)
Truckers' routes within Syria
1. Halep-Rakka-Haseke route.
2. İdlib-Rakka-Haseke-Kamışlı route.
3. Damascus-Humus-İdlib route.
Even though production has slowed dramatically in war-
torn Syria, it has not come to a complete halt in critical
cities like Damascus and Aleppo. In most places there is
no electricity so many people rely on generators to run
their small workshops, where everything from spare car
parts to textiles are produced.
None of these goods can be sent to Turkey or Iraq for
sale so the items must be shipped and sold in Syria in
places like Idlib, Haseke, Humus and Rakka. Since the
telephone system in the country is broken, traders and
truckers let each other know where goods are needed and
where a "good commander" might let them pass safely.
M.U. and friend along the Rakka leg of the journey.
According to trucker-trader M.U., "it's no different than
how it was doing business 100 years ago." Continuing,
M.U. explained that "the truckers know the safe roads
and where there's trouble. It's like knowing the weather.
But whether it's Esad's area, or ISIS's or the PYD's, they
all want trade to continue so they agree to stop fighting
for four hours to let the trucks pass through. Lately, PYD
and ISIS were clashing at El-Rai between Haseke and
Rakka but they stopped fighting for a set period so commerce
could go on."
"They all have tax systems in their respective areas and its
sort of like protection money the traders and truckers have
to pay. For example, in the PYD area, say you're carrying
tea and sugar. You have to pay 200 USD for each truck. In
ISIS-controlled areas it's different. You pay a small fee to
pass through but if you unload there the price is set depending
on the kind of goods, the value and the identity of the trader.
The Free Syrian Army area has no set tax system because
there are so many different groups there."
This Mercedes escorts trucks carrying "valuable goods" from
Es-Selame border crossing across from Öncüpinar in Kilis,
Turkey. The Mercedes (for some unexplained reason) is
the "free-pass" ticket through the areas controlled by the
various warring groups.