Ahrar a-Sham establishes civilian border administration

STAMPED:Administrators with the Ahrar a-Sham al-Islamiya-controlled Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Syria announced the opening of a civilian-staffed department of migration and passport control on Tuesday.

The new department “created entry and exit cards stamped by the crossing’s administration, in order to not stamp Syrian passports out of concern for civilians in regime-controlled areas,” according to the Bab Al-Hawa administration’s Facebook.

In addition, “Ahrar a-Sham al-Islamiya removed its fighters and the appearance of military operations from the crossing and tasked a specific battalion with maintaining order in the crossing,” Abu Yasir, an administrator at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

The Islamic Front, of which Ahrar a-Sham al-Islamiya is a member, took control of the crossing in northern Idlib province from the Free Syrian Army in late 2013.

The border is only open for travellers entering Syria from Turkey. The Turkish government closed their side of the border to all non-commercial traffic in early March, without releasing an official explanation.

“It is expected that the crossing will open at the beginning of June according to what we are hearing from the Turkish gendarmerie, but we haven’t been officially informed yet,” said Abu Yasir.

Osama Abu Zeid

Osama Abu Zeid is a native of Homs, where he served as a media activist and founding member of the Homs Revolutionary Council after the Syrian uprising began in 2011.

James Bowker

James Bowker graduated from Tufts University in 2013 with a double major in Arabic Language & Middle Eastern Studies. He has previously worked with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) study-abroad program and as a remote translator for the Article 25 Right to Health campaign.