Syria: LafargeHolcim has dodged accusations by La Monde that Lafarge entered into deals with armed groups in Syria, including Islamic State (IS), to protect its business interests in the country. In a statement LafargeHolcim said that its first priority was the safety and security of its employees at its Jalabiyeh cement plant before it eventually closed the plant. It did not deny the accusations.
Le Monde reported it had seen letters sent by Lafarge managers in Syria revealing arrangements that Lafarge made with the jihadist group to continue production until 19 September 2014 and to arrange access for staff and supplies. The French newspaper also alleges that Lafarge bought licences from and paid taxes to IS middle-men and oil traders.
Lafarge operated the 3Mt/yr Jalabiyeh cement plant from 2010 to 2014. In September 2014, Lafarge stopped operating the plant. After that, all employees were evacuated, put on paid leave and were no longer allowed to access the plant. In December 2014 Lafarge decided to terminate all employee contracts, and where possible, transfer employees to other parts of the group.