The cement maker Lafarge attempted in 2013 and 2014 to operate its plant in Syria “at all costs” “at the cost of arrangements with surrounding armed groups, including the Islamic State (IS) organization”, said Tuesday June 21 The world. Asked by AFP, Lafarge – which has since merged in 2015 with the Swiss company Holcim to become a construction materials giant – was not immediately reachable. At issue: the Jalabiya cement plant, located 150 kilometers northeast of Aleppo (Syria’s second city), bought by Lafarge in 2007 and commissioned in 2011.
“Until 2013, production is maintained despite growing instability in the region due to the civil war that began in 2011”, notes the daily.
But, “from the spring of 2013” the EI “gradually takes control of the towns and roads surrounding the factory. Lafarge“, Adds the newspaper.
“Emails sent by the management of Lafarge in Syria, published in part by the Syrian site close to the opposition Zaman Al-Wasl and which Le Monde was able to consult, reveal the arrangements of Lafarge with the jihadist group to be able to continue production until September 19, 2014, when ISIS took over the site and Lafarge announces the cessation of all activity, ”explains Le Monde.
Lafarge, which seeks to guarantee access to the factory for its workers and goods, notably assigns a certain Ahmad Jaloudi “to obtain authorizations from the IS to allow employees to pass through checkpoints”.
Exchanges of emails “allow us to conclude that the management of Lafarge in Paris was aware of these efforts ”, according to Le Monde.
Another daily proof: “A pass stamped with the ISIS stamp and endorsed by the director of finance of the wilaya (region) of Aleppo, dated September 11, 2014, attests to the agreements made with ISIS to allow the free movement of materials ”.
To be able to manufacture cement, Lafarge also went through “intermediaries and traders who marketed oil refined by ISIS, against the payment of a license and the payment of taxes”, assures the newspaper.