20 days of Operation “Peace Spring”: civilian casualties are on the rise and the death toll of fighting parties increases. An anticipation during the few hours left before the end of the cease-fire in accordance with the Turkish-Russian agreement
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Although there are only few hours left until the Russian deadline for the ceasefire and the withdrawal of the SDF from the border areas in accordance with the Russian-Turkish agreement in Sochi; the fighting continue amid fierce battles monitored by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in several positions within the area between Tal Tamr and Ras al-Ain (Sri Kanye), between regime forces on the one hand and Turkish forces and their loyalist factions on the other, in a continuing offensive by the latter to cut off the Abu Rasin-Tal Tamr road, and to advance south and east of Ras al-Ain, amid heavy and intense shelling by dozens of rocket-propelled grenades by Turkish forces and loyalist factions, while Turkish drones targets combat axes.
In the same context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored the continuation of the regime forces to deploy along the border area between Amouda and Darbasiyah, in addition to the “Zahr al-Arab” and “Kasr” east of Ras al-Ain, where the regime forces deployed in border posts located in the above-mentioned area, According to the Russian-Turkish agreement and the regime forces’ agreement with the SDF, with the continued withdrawal of SDF from the area there.
Regarding the Russian forces, the SOHR monitored the arrival of a military patrol of the Russian forces to al-Darbasiyah border crossing with Turkey in al-Hassakah countryside, where the Russian patrol was accompanied by a media delegation and civilians. Reliable sources told the SOHR that Turkish forces deployed at the crossing fired a shell at it, resulting in the injury of five people from the civilian delegation there, amid reports of Russian military casualties, followed by a meeting of the Russian patrol with Turkish forces after the removal of civilians and media from the region. The both sides talked about the mechanism of conducting joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the area, which is supposed to start on Tuesday, as the Russian deadline for the ceasefire and the withdrawal of SDF is due to expire this evening. The Syrian Observatory published hours ago that it detected heavy vehicles and tanks belonging to regime forces heading from Ain al-Arab (Kobani) towards villages located in the western countryside of the city. Also, sources told the SOHR that a Russian patrol arrived yesterday to al-Jawadiya (Gul-Agha) at the countryside of al-Malikeya (Dierik), however, the internal security forces (Asayish) prevented them from stopping and forced them to return, explaining that the area between the eastern side of al-Qamishli to al-Malikeya is not included in the deal with Russians and therefore they cannot enter there.
Turkey’s operation displaces 300 thousand civilians, 130 civilian killed in 20 days, and disastrous humanitarian and health conditions
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 that period, 130 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 130, 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 38 including a child, a party official and two females 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 Selouk, including 4 of the Medical Teams. 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.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the medical condition in the north and north-east of Syria is witnessing a disastrous situation due to the continuous targeting since the start of the operation “Peace Spring”, where the Kurdish Red Crescent and the Health Authority within the SDF control areas lost 4 of its members so far as a result of the Turkish military operation (3 of the Health Authority were executed on the ground by the pro-Turkish factions in Selouk north of Raqqa, the last belongs to the Kurdish Red Crescent and has been killed in the bombing of the countryside of Ras al-Ain), in addition to 5 others were wounded And targets. The Syrian Observatory documented the attempts by the pro-Turkish factions to impede the work of the medical staff in the rescue of the wounded and the transfer of bodies as a result of the continuing targeting, as was the case in their attempt to transport the wounded and bodies from the city of Ras al-Ain, during the siege by the pro-Turkish factions.
Insecurity and instability, death toll rises, Turkish-backed factions capture number of regime forces and commit abuses against civilians
Since the start of the military operations, the Syrian Observatory monitored the progress of the Turkish forces and their affiliated factions, as it managed to control Madba’a, Bab al-Khair, Jan Tamr, Tal Baidar, A’ba, Merkis, Tal Qurtal and other locations in the area, amid the continuing violent attack since the early morning. And with intensive air and ground cover, Turkey and its backed factions now control a total area of 3412 km2 (6.4% 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. In addition, there are 44 villages and areas within the area between Tal Tamr and Ras al-Ain, and the area between Tal Abyad countryside and Ain Issa are under the control of the Turkish-backed factions right now.
Over the course of 20 days of clashes, shelling and mutual targeting, 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 283. The SOHR also documented the death of 19 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 215, 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. The SOHR also learned that the Turkish-backed factions managed to capture number of the regime forces members.
Meanwhile, the area is still witnessing a state of caution and anticipation, where a number of residents of “Ras al-Ain” called on the SOHR, to highlight the insecurity and suffering they face on the hands of the Turkish-backed factions, as they tried to return to their homes and villages; however the pro-Turkish factions stopped them at the Tel Halaf checkpoint and prevented them from crossing and asked them whether they were Kurds or Arabs, amid reports of forced displacement of Syrian refugees from Turkey to areas controlled by Operation Peace Spring. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights calls on all actors to put pressure on Turkey to ensure that there is no demographic change in the area controlled by the “Peace Spring” factions, as well as to ensure that the property of residents in areas under the control of pro-Turkish factions is not stolen and looted in light of the frequent reports of Looting taking place in the area.
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”.