SDF-controlled areas in July 2021 | ISIS cells carry out over 15 attacks, while nearly 50 people arrested in security campaigns • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SDF-controlled areas in July 2021 | ISIS cells carry out over 15 attacks, while nearly 50 people arrested in security campaigns

Areas under the control of Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) experienced, in July 2021, scores of incidents of security disorder and violations against human rights. In this context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) have monitored and tracked all key developments in SDF-held areas in the previous month.




Death toll of ISIS affiliate’s murders and attacks


In July 2021, ISIS continued its attacks in areas under the control of SDF and the Autonomous Administration in north and north-east Syria region, as ISIS cells carried out several attacks and committed assassinations through various ways, including shooting, using sharp tools and planting IEDs and landmines throughout SDF-held areas. On the other hand SDF launched periodical security campaigns, with Coalition support, targeting ISIS cells and individuals accused of “dealing with these cells”. However, these campaigns remained timid and could not put an end to ISIS escalating operations in the region.


SOHR activists documented over 16 attacks in June carried out by ISIS cells in SDF-held areas in Deir Ezzor, al-Hasakah, Aleppo and al-Raqqah, including armed attacks and explosions. According to SOHR statistics, the number of people killed in these attacks during June reached ten. The breakdown of fatalities was as follows: seven civilians, including two women, and three members of SDF, Asayish Forces and the Self-Defence forces.


SOHR also documented, on July 21, the death of a civilian and injury of two others, as Turkish forces and their proxy factions opened heavy and medium machinegun fire on M4 international highway, in the area between Hoshan village and Ain Issa town in northern al-Raqqah, while civilians’ cars were traveling on the highway.


On the other hand, Syria Democratic Forces, backed by the International Coalition, launched frequent security campaigns in July in an attempt to put an end to the ISIS escalating operations in Deir Ezzor and al-Hasakah. According to SOHR statistics, 51 people, including ISIS commander, were arrested during these campaigns, for “belonging to and communicating with ISIS cells” as well as other accusations, in al-Jeninah, al-Hesan, al-Hawayij, Jadidat Bakara, al-Busayrah, al-Zarr, al-Shuhayl in Deir Ezzor, other towns and villages in the southern countryside of al-Hasakah and in north-east Syria region.


It is worth noting that 28 of the arrested people have been released.



Honour crimes top the scene in NE Syria


With the growing security instability throughout Syria, no matter which power dominates, murders under the pretext of “honour crimes” have been alarmingly escalated with women and children being the only victims of such crimes while the perpetrators go unpunished.


The latest of such crimes was the murder of Aydah al-Saidou, a little girl who was killed by her family in cold blood, whose case has inflamed public opinion.


We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, renew our appeals to prosecute the murderers of the girl and all perpetrators who committed murder under pretext of “honour crimes” in the entire Syrian geography.


It is worth noting that Aydah was a minor girl who was killed by gunmen of her tribe under the cover of “honour crimes”, after she had abandoned her home with her boyfriend whose frequent proposals of marriage the girl had been rejected by her family. According to SOHR sources, the girl was killed by her cousin who had also proposed to marry her, despite her refusal. The cousin chased the girl and her boyfriend and murdered the girl with the help of other tribesmen, inside a house in al-Malikiyya countryside (Dayrek) in northern al-Hasakah, while the boyfriend managed to escape and hide in an unknown place.


SOHR activists obtained some video footages showing the barbarian crime and the horrific way of shooting the girl by the armed tribesmen. Local sources confirmed that the gunmen who took part in the crime intentionally posted the video in order to announce “cleansing the shame” according to their tribal beliefs.


We strongly denounce this horrific crime and call for bringing the perpetrators who were involved in the murder of the minor girl and appeared in the videos to justice.


On July 6, another “honour crime” inflamed public opinion, after a man killed his daughter in al-Hasakah city. Reliable SOHR sources reported at that time that a man hanged his 16-year-old daughter who had been raped by her cousin more than one year earlier. It is worth noting that the girl’s family had also killed her illegitimate baby.


The girl’s cousin was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a regime court for his crime, so the father held his daughter in a room in his house in al-Klasa neighbourhood that is under the control of the Autonomous Administration in al-Hasakah city. The father later strangled the girl to death and fled to regime-held areas in the security zone in al-Hasakah city.


On that day, July 6, SOHR activists in al-Raqqah city reported the death of a little girl affected by the burns she had in her family’s house. The girl’s family had taken their wounded daughter to the National Hospital that rejected treating her due to lack of a places in the hospital burn section. The family weren’t able to move the girl to a private hospital due to their poverty, which led to the death of the girl affected by her burns, despite intervention of rich people to take her to a private hospital, but it was too late to rescue the child. It is worth noting that the hospital’s administration fired two doctors and three nurses, who were at the night shift in the National Hospital, over that incident.


Moreover, SOHR activists in al-Raqqah city reported that a 14-year-old girl committed suicide by jumped from the fourth floor, fleeing from domestic violence by her father and step mother against her.


On July 8, SOHR activists in Ain al-Arab (Kobani) reported that a gang killed a woman and wounded her brother and two of her sons seriously, after they looted golden accessories, money and personal possessions on the road between Kobani and al-Qamishli, while the family was heading to visit the sick father in al-Qamishli. The victim was from Ashqanah village in Kobani countryside.



Other developments in SDF-held areas in July 2021


On July 17, SOHR activists reported an explosion in “Be’r al-Hasheem” station in the north-western countryside of al-Raqqah, believed to be caused by the detonation of an IED planted by unknown individuals in the station. The explosion put the station, which provides over 100,000 dunams of farmlands with water, out of service, which have might lead to a humanitarian disaster, as the project was one of the largest land reclamation projects in “al-Hasheem” area in al-Raqqah countryside in the Syrian Jazeera.


Meanwhile, SDF continued their security campaigns on crossings used for smuggling goods and people from SDF-held areas in eastern Euphrates region in Deir Ezzor countryside to regime-controlled areas on the river’s opposite bank. The security forces arrested several people working in these crossings and destroyed several ferries used for smuggling.


On July 2, SOHR activists reported an increase in the water storage rate at Euphrates Dam which helped to improve electricity supply provided to al-Hassaka city. Electricity was connected for two hours in the morning, after being cut off in the city for about a week.


Well informed sources said that electricity working hours were up to four hours per day, along with operating the power turbines and the increase of the power supply provided by the power station in al-Tabqa city.


On the other hand, farmers in al-Raqqa governorate moved the water extracting machines to their agriculture fields near the Euphrates river to a higher positions due to the raise of water level of the river, as they feared that their fields would be flooded by the increasing water.


Other sources confirmed that around 30 megawatt per hour were delivered to al-Hasakah governorate in the day time, while it is expected that the amount of electricity would be increased to 50 megawatt per hour after midnight, which would help to improve the electricity supply delivered to the region.


On July 25, SOHR activists said that workers from regime workshops arrived at Allouk water station in “Peace Spring” areas, under protection by Turkish and Russian forces, in order to reactivate the station, after reconnection of electricity. This development came after nearly a month of suspension of work in the station which provided al-Hasakah city and surrounding villages with water.


On July 30, SOHR activists monitored that drinking water being pumped from Allouk station in “Peace Spring” areas, after the maintenance technicians escorted by the Russians headed to the station.


According to reliable SOHR sources, the technicians managed to prepare nearly ten wells and started pumping drinking water to Tel Tamr and Al-Hasakah city.


It was expected that the drinking water would reach Tel Tamr and Al-Hasakah city by the following day.

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