Aleppo24 correspondent said that a group of Assad thugs (shabiha) have recently began imposing taxes on shopkeepers in the markets located in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo city. The imposed tax has increased to 500 USD for every commercial shop, while those who refuse to pay the taxes are forced to close their shops such was the case in Al-Luz, Al Myassar and Masaken Hanano markets where the owners who refused to pay had their shops closed by the thugs.
A shopkeeper said that ‘ the shabiha were threatening everyone who refuses to pay them or tries to complain to the security authorities. They mentioned to them that they were backed by the air intelligence branch.’ In relevant incident, a shopkeeper was arrested in Al-Shaar market after complaining against the shabiha to a security branch in Aleppo. His fate remains unknown to the very moment. In addition, the shabiha confiscated his shop and are now using it for their own benefits.
Our correspondent said that the shabiha seized some building floors on top of commercial shops in the previously mentioned markets and are using them as tax collection centers. The taxes are being collected in return for what those shabiha describe as ‘liberation and protection’.
There is a severe shortage in services in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo. There is only one operational bakery, and the hospitals are still out of commission, in addition to the lack of water and electricity which have not been provided since Assad’s forces captured the city in late 2016.