85 Syrian Organizations Welcome the U.S. Treasury’s Sanctions against Two Syria-Based Armed Groups and Commanders

The undersigned organizations call on the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to impose similar sanctions on individuals and entities involved in human rights violations in Syria

The undersigned Syrian organizations welcome the decision of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of 17 August 2023 to designate the two Syrian armed groups, the Suleiman Shah Brigade (known as al-Amshat) and the Hamza Division (known as al-Hamzat). The two groups are connected with serious human rights violations against the Kurdish community in the Afrin region, northern Syria. These violations include abductions, arrests, extortion, rape, torture, and the seizure of land and property.
Additionally, the signatory organizations welcome the U.S. Treasury’s sanctions imposed on leading members of the two designated groups. The Treasury sanctioned Mohammad Hussein al-Jasim (Abu Amsha)—commander of the Suleiman Shah Brigade, Walid Hussein al-Jasim—a younger brother of Abu Amsha who is also assigned a leadership role in the Suleiman Shah Brigade, and Sayf Boulad Abu Bakr—commander of the Hamza Division. All three leaders are involved in grave human rights abuses. Moreover, the Treasury designated the Türkiye-based al-Safir Oto car dealership, which Abu Amsha allegedly owns in partnership with the commander of the Syrian armed group Ahrar al-Sharqiya, Ahmad Ihsan Fayyad al-Hayes (Abu Hatem Shaqra). Notably, the Treasury has previously designated al-Hayes and his armed group for committing numerous crimes against civilians.
Over the past years, several armed groups affiliated with the Syrian National Army (SNA)—operating under the mantle of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces—have perpetrated systematic and widespread human rights violations in areas under their control with impunity. The groups continue to target the populace in those areas, especially the local communities in Afrin, Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê, and Tell Abyad, which are under Türkiye’s direct control. These violations have been documented by several credible Syrian and international organizations and corroborated by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic in its periodic reports.
Considering this, the undersigned organizations call for widening the scope of sanctions to cover other armed groups, their commanders, and their affiliates who have been corroborated as having committed grave violations. Moreover, the organizations demand that concerned entities press Türkiye, as the party in control of these armed groups and as an occupying power, to bear its responsibilities and thus guarantee the safety and well-being of civilians and maintain law and order.
Furthermore, the signatory organizations demand that:
The United Nations Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians in Afrin, Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê, and Tell Abyad, across the northern regions, and throughout Syria. The council shall also act to halt the processes of demographic change and the seizure of property and to ensure the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of residents to their home areas.
War crimes units in countries whose national laws warrant universal jurisdiction and the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) document and collect evidence on human rights violations occurring across northern Syria, especially abuses perpetrated against vulnerable groups and/or on the basis of the victims’ national, ethnic, or religious affiliations.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria issue a special report on human rights violations across northern Syria, including in the Afrin region—the Olive Branch Strip; A’zaz, Jarabulus, and al-Bab—the Euphrates Shield Strip; and Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê and Tell Abyad—the Peace Spring Strip.
Furthermore, the signatory organizations call on the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to take similar steps, which are prone to advance the course of international litigation, aiming at holding accountable Syrian perpetrators residing in their territories, promoting documentation, accountability, and redress efforts initiated by European and international courts, and contributing to deterring perpetrators and ending impunity.
Organizations and Associations Signing the Statement:

Adil Center for Human Rights
Afrin Media Center
Afrin Platform
Afrin Post – News Network
Ajyal Organization for Development
Al_Khaboor Association
Amal for Development
Analysis and Strategic Studies Organization (ASO)
ARAS Charity
Areej Organization
ASHNA for Development Organization
Ashti Center
Association Culturelle Kurde de Genève
Baladna Organization for Civil Society
Center for Research and Protection of Women’s rights in Syria
Community Solidarity organization
DAN for Relief and Development
DAR Association for Victims of Forced Displacement
Deirna for Development
Development without Border Organized
Enlil Center
Enma Aljazera
Environment and Water Association (EWAS)
Euphrates NGO
Ezdina Organization
Future Hands Organization
Future Makers Team
Green Tress
Hevy for relief and development
Human Rights Organization in Afrin – Syria
Jian Charity Association
Jiyan e. V. for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Khutwa Association
Kobani for Relief and Development (KRD)
Kurdish Legal Committee
Lamsat Alkhier Association
Lelun Association for Victims
Lights for development and Construction
Mary for Culture
Nawras Development Organization
North Press Agency – NPA
Noun for Development and Support for Women and Children
Nujin Society for Development Community
Organization of Zagon
Oxygen Shabab
PÊL- Civil Waves
Pioneers of Peace
Publish path
Qadar Organization
Radiance of Hope
Reng for Development
Rojava Activists Network
Rose organization for Support and Empowerment
SALAM. Organization
Sara Organization to Combat Violence Against Women
Share for Community Development
Shawshaka Association Women
Shemal Association for Relief and Development
Shilan Association for Relief and Development
Silav Organization for Civil Activities
SMART Center
Society for Threatened Peoples
Stability support Centre
Synergy Association for Victims
Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
Taa Marbouta
Tara Organisation
Team for them
Tel-Abyed Forum for civil society
The Syrian Center for Legal studies and research
The Violations Documentation
Together for Deir Ezzor
Tree of Life
Urnammu for Justice & Human Rights
Warshin Association of environment
White Human Organization
Zameen for Development and peacebuilding
Zin Center for Development