12 days of Operation “Peace Spring”: Turkish-backed factions continue to violate the ceasefire and commit violations against citizens in areas under their control. The death toll among the “SDF”, the regime, Turkish forces and factions loyal to it rises to 477

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,

October 2019

Although the 5-day deadline for the US-Turkish ceasefire is approaching its end, as it officially ends tomorrow evening (Tuesday, October 22), the northeastern region of Syria continues to witness successive developments. And despite the announcement of the withdrawal of the “SDF” from “Ras al-Ain”, the Turkish forces and factions loyal to them continue to breach the truce, where informed sources told the Syrian Observatory for human rights, that Turkish drones targeted a car carrying four fighters of the SDF in “Debs” village which is located about 3 km away from the town of “Ain Issa” in the northern countryside of Raqqa, resulting in the death of all the four on the spot, in clear violation by Turkish forces of the US-Turkish agreement to suspend military operations.

In light of the ongoing violations of the ceasefire agreement, the pro-Ankara factions resumed their attack on Monday morning on “Abu Rasin” area of ​​the eastern countryside of Ras al-Ain. This morning, groups of factions, accompanied by 4 tanks, artillery and a digging mechanism, headed to Bab al-Khair area of ​​“Abu Rasin”, followed by shelling of villages of Abu Rasin (Zarkan), in addition to mutual targeting with the SDF forces in the area with heavy and medium machine guns. Also, Factions loyal to Turkey managed to invade “Umm Eshba” village, to coincide with the reinforcements of the SDF to repel the attacks. The Syrian Observatory documented the killing of three SDF elements during the shelling and targeting in the area since the morning, three days after its attack on villages belonging to the Abu Rasin area (Bab al-Khair, Umm Eshba and Madabaa).

Meanwhile, the American forces, which are part of the international coalition against the Islamic State, are continuing their withdrawal from their positions and military bases in northern Syria, where a US military convoy was seen leaving Syrian territory through the Simalka border crossing with Iraq after midnight Monday. Sources in al-Qamishli told the SOHR that they spotted banners in English during the withdrawal of the convoy, denouncing the US resolutions and the US-Turkish agreement. One of these banners said: “You have betrayed the Kurds. History and future generations will curse you. How would you tell your children that you left your Kurdish allies behind to be killed by the Turks”.

Turkey’s operation displaces 300 thousand civilians, 120 civilian casualties in 12 days.

Since the early hours of Wednesday morning, October 9, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored the displacement of civilians from different parts of the Euphrates region, fleeing the Turkish military operation in the area. According to the statistics of the “Observatory”, the number of displaced exceeded 300 thousand civilians displaced from their towns, cities and villages, where the movement of civilians continues from their areas in Tal Abyad, Ras Al-Ain, Darbasiyah, Ain Al Arab, Ain Issa and other areas east of the Euphrates at the border with Turkey. According to Syrian Observatory statistics Human rights, the number of displaced people exceeded 300 thousand civilians toward the depth of the region, amid the difficult humanitarian situation in the region due to the huge numbers of displaced persons, in addition to the lack of water in al-Hassakah, and the outage of power stations due to shelling and clashes. According to sources of the SOHR, several cities, towns and villages are completely depopulated.

Over the course of 12 days of the Turkish military operation known as the ”Peace Spring,” 120 civilians fall victim to the indiscriminate shelling and battles waged by Turkey on northern Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the number of civilians killed since the beginning of the Turkish military operation has risen to 120, including 33 as a result of Turkish airstrikes targeting the city of Ras al-Ain, its surroundings and its eastern countryside, and the village of Rihaniya in al-Malikiyah countryside, including a citizen and two local press crew. Among the civilian casualties, 28 by bombing and targeting on the city of Ras al-Ain, where the bodies were buried earlier because of the siege on the city, and 27 including a child, a party official and two citizens were shot and executed by pro-Turkish factions on the highway south of the city of Tal Abyad and areas north of Ein Issa and the town of Sluk. In addition, 7 civilians including two employees of the self-administration were killed in the ground shelling on the outskirts of Tel Abyad, and 6 including a child, a woman and two elderly men due to rocket fire at Al-Bashiriya, Qadur bey and Al-Zaytouniya neighborhoods. Also, 5 civilians including a child were killed in shelling on the perimeter and countryside of Ras al-Ain area in Hasakah countryside, 4 by Turkish air strikes on Al-Bajiya village in Tal Abyad area, 3 by sniper in Tal Abyad, and a girl in shelling targeting Al-Qahtaniya countryside. Also, A man was shot by a Turkish sniper in al-Qamishli city, a man was shot by Turkish missiles on the outskirts of Qasr Deeb village in al-Malikiyah countryside, in addition to 2 civilians killed in the bombing of pro-Turkish factions at al-Farat village north of Manbij city, and a female child was killed by rocket shelling by the Turkish forces on a village in Ain Issa.

The “Syrian Observatory” documented, yesterday morning, the exit of the medical convoy that entered the city of Ras al-Ain (Sri Kanye) to evacuate more wounded and injured and the transfer the bodies of people who died earlier as a result of military operations in the besieged city, before the Syrian Democratic Forces began to withdraw from the entire city, coinciding with the convoy exit. According to the SOHR sources, there were 28 civilians who lost their lives during the five days of siege on Ras al-Ain due to shelling and targeting, while the SOHR also documented the death of two medical teams members, the injury of 5 others and the loss of a number of members of medical teams, during the the siege on the city.

Looting, theft, burning houses and kidnapping, Turkish-backed factions continue their violations against civilians

Since the start of the military operations, the Syrian Observatory monitored the progress of the Turkish forces and their affiliated factions with intensive air and ground cover in a total area of ​​3101 km2 (5.8% of the total area under the control of the SDF), which is equivalent to one quarter of the area of ​​Lebanon, namely: Tal Abyad city, villages of Selouk, Mazra’at Al-Hammadi, Abu Qabr, Mazra’at al-Massihi, Hamida, Al-Mahdah, Dadat, Al-Yabsah, Al-Mushrifah, Tel-Fender, Bir-Asheq, Al-Tuwaraziyah, Zakah, Huwairan, Al-Wasta, Al-Ghajer, Shokan, Al-Khaldia, Al-Arida, Nabhan, Um Al-Garn, Ghazil, Al-Hawi, Tabbin, Al-Suwayn, Jamous Filo, Al-Zaidi, Al-Droubiyah, Ain Al-Arous, Tel Antar, Al-Badi, Jassem Al-Ali in Tal Abyad. Turkey also now controls Mabrouka town, and the villages of Kantari, Wadha, Twigel, Alouk, Keshtu, Aksas, Tal Khanzeer, Al Azizia, Baloja, Abu Al-Saoun, Hweish Al-Nasser, Al-Naim, Sahaleya, Libya, Tal Al-Banat, Kajo, Al-Mada’in and Nahih in Ras Al-Ain.

As a result of the continuous battels, the death toll among the Syria Democratic Forces, military councils and internal security forces since the start of the Turkish military operation on Wednesday afternoon have risen to 266. The SOHR also documented the death of 5 members of the regime forces as a result of a missile targeting by the Turkish-backed factions. Meanwhile, the number of deaths among Syrian factions loyal to Ankara and the pro-Turkey cells killed in the attacks and clashes with the SDF during the same period reached 196, including 21 of the cells loyal to Ankara killed in clashes with the SDF, in addition to 10 Turkish soldiers were killed during the battels, amid information about more dead Turks on the Turkish-Syrian border, and the number of those killed is likely to rise due to the high number of wounded, some of them in serious cases.

According to reliable sources, the factions loyal to Turkey continue its violation within its areas of control, as groups have stolen homes and ransacked their contents after the displacement of its people as a result of the “Peace Spring”, in addition to burning homes and the theft of livestock, which brings back to memory the practices of the factions during the control of Afrin, the rampaging of the property of the people and the ongoing violations to date. In turn, the SOHR continues to monitor the violations of the factions, where reliable sources confirmed that Turkish-backed factions abducted an elderly citizen, her husband and a child in the village of “Gaida” in Tal Abyad, and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of 10 million Syrian pounds in order to set them free. It is noteworthy to mention that 5 members of the elderly family were killed in the area before by the same factions. Also, sources told the SOHR that members of the “Hamza Division” loyal to Turkey, kidnapped a young man named Mohammed Aboud in “Tal Half”, after he refused to hand over his motorcycle and mobile phone to the checkpoint elements, and is currently being held in a house Adjacent to the “Hassan Gas Station”, where this house is the headquarters the “Hamza Devision”. “There is another violation of the Hamza Devision in Ras al-Ain, where members of the pro-Turkish faction stole a car owned by Hamad al-Khalaf, in addition to stealing more than one mobile phone. al-Khalaf is a civilian who has no political or military activity. He is also an Arab, not a Kurd. They also set fire on his house,” the sources said.

At the same time, the SOHR obtained the testimony of civil sources familiar with the situation in “Ras al-Ain” after the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the control of factions loyal to Turkey. According to the sources, “looting reached in everything, where all the items are stolen and sold in a market in (Tal Halaf). Even food and mobile phones are being robbed. Some traders have confirmed that honorable people do not buy stolen items. Also, there is another market in a village after (Tel Halaf) called (al-Azizia), where there is something like a market to sell stolen food or any stolen items that have high price to be sold for”.

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