How French cement company Lafarge collaborated with the Islamic State

The cement plant of Jalabiya, northwestern Syria, in December 2015

Le Monde, June 21, 2016
Translated from French by Tom Winter

The cement plant in Jalabiya, northern Syria, owned by the French group Lafarge, paid taxes to the Islamic State between 2013 and 2014 in order to continue functioning during the war. 

This is demonstrated by an investigation published by Le Monde, Tuesday, June 21. 

Inaugurated in 2010, the cement plant in Jalabiya, in the northeast of Syria, was the flagship of the French cement producer in the Middle East. But the following year, civil war broke out. The factory management tried to operate as long as possible in the dangerous and unstable environment.

Indirect funding of jihadist organization 

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Beginning in 2013, the presence of the Islamic State (EI) in the region forced the cement maker to negotiate rights of passage for its trucks at checkpoints manned by the jihadists. They also had to get petroleum from oil traders, whose fields were held by the ISIS. Thus for a little over a year, Lafarge indirectly funded the jihadist organization, until the Islamic State seized the plant on September 19, 2014, and Lafarge ceased its activities.

The factory now houses Western special forces

Twice an intermediary proposed to the French group relaunching cement production under the protection of IE in exchange for a profit sharing. Without success. 

In February 2015, the site was taken over by the Kurdish YPG militia, supported by the international coalition against ISIS. Now the abandoned cement plant is the base for Western special forces, French, American and British, who quietly support the Kurdish-Arab forces in their ongoing offensive against the jihadists in Manbij and Rakka.

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