“Euphrates Shield” areas and surroundings in July 2022 | Nearly 35 casualties in acts of violence…nine explosions and infightings…four kidnaps and arbitrary arrests
SOHR renews its appeals to the international community to protect civilians in “Euphrates Shield” areas from chaos, insecurity, and violations of Turkish-backed factions
Since Turkish forces and their proxy factions captured several areas in Aleppo after a military operation known as “Euphrates Shield”, humanitarian crises have been emerging and worsening gradually, with violations, attacks and explosions occurring almost daily. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has monitored and tracked July’s prominent developments in these areas, which could be summarised in the following main points:
In July 2022, SOHR activists documented the death of 16 people in areas under the control of Turkish forces and factions operating under the banner of “Euphrates Shield” operations room in northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo. The fatalities’ breakdown is as follows:
-Five civilians, including a child and a woman:
- A displaced young man was killed by a gunshot fired by him by mistake in Al-Bab city.
- A child was killed by the explosion of an old landmine in Baraghidah village in Azaz area.
- A young man was shot dead by another man following disagreements between the two men in Al-Ziyadiyah village near Akhtarin town in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- A woman was killed in rocket attacks on the surrounding areas of the Turkish base in the area of the scientific research centre in Azaz countryside. The rockets were fired by regime forces stationed in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- A young man was shot dead by unknown gunmen near the old marker of “Al-Khamees” (Thursday Market) in Al-Bab city.
- A commander and his escort were shot dead by unknown gunmen in Al-Barouzah village near Akhtarin town near Azaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- Two members of “Jaysh Al-Ahfad” faction were killed in rocket fire on positions in Sabouring village in Qabaseen countryside in eastern Aleppo.
- A member of “Liwaa Asefat Al-Shamal” was killed in violent clashes with light and medium machineguns in Azaz city in north Aleppo countryside between members of the factions and gunmen of Huri family from the city.
- Two gunmen were killed in clashes with light machineguns in Al-Salama camp in Saju village in Azaz countryside between two displaced families from Mayir village in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- A gunman was killed in violent clashes with medium and light machineguns between a family from Ablah village and another family from Sosyan town.
- A displaced man from Deir Ezzor city was killed in exchange of gunfire with his cousins in Jarabulus city.
-Two Turkish soldiers were killed in bombardment on the Turkish military base in Kaljabrin. The shells were fired from Kurdish-controlled areas in the northern countryside Aleppo.
SOHR also documented the injury of over 16 people in explosions, fights, and ground bombardment in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings in July 2022.
Infightings and explosions
Also, in June 2022, SOHR activists documented three infightings and six explosions in “Euphrates Shield” areas and its surroundings. Here are further details:
July 10: A man was killed and two were injured in clashes with light machineguns in Al-Salama camp in Saju village in Azaz countryside between two displaced families from Mayir village in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
July 24: Clashes with medium and light machineguns erupted between a family from Ablah village and another family from Sosyan town. The clashes left a young man from Sosyan town dead and two others injured.
July 31: Violent clashes with light and medium machineguns erupted in Azaz city in north Aleppo countryside between members of “Liwaa Asefat Al-Shamal” factions and gunmen of Huri family from the city. The clashes left a member of “Liwaa Asefat Al-Shamal” dead, while four others sustained various injuries.
- July 7: A military car, “Toyota” make, affiliated to “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” exploded in Azaz city, which injured a member of the faction. However, the nature of the explosion remains unknown.
- July 8: A child was killed and two others sustained serious injuries when an old landmine exploded in a farm land in Baraghidah village in Azaz area in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- July 13: A member of Al-Amshat faction threw a grenade on other members of the same faction in Fatemah Al-Zahraa street in Al-Bab city centre, which only caused material damage to a car.
- July 21: An IED mounted on a “National Army” military vehicle exploded on the road between Azaz and Kafr Kalbayn, which caused material damage.
- July 26: Two IEDs exploded in two cars in Al-Shu’aib village in Al-Ghandourah district in Jarabulus countryside in eastern Aleppo. The first explosion targeted a car which belonged to a man working in smuggling people and goods between “Euphrates Shield” area and SDF-controlled areas, just before the second IED exploded in the car of the smuggler’s brother near the site of the first explosion.
Furthermore, SOHR activists documented two assaults by Turkish-backed militiamen of the “National Army,” with the first taking place on July 15 when a group of “Liwaa Asefat Al-Shamal” members beat a displaced young man from Hayyan town in the northern countryside of Aleppo for unknown reasons.
While the second assault took place on January 30, militiamen of Al-Hamza Division assaulted a 60-year-old man. The elderly man sustained various injuries and was taken to the hospital. This incident followed disagreements between a young man from Ghaytoun village in rural Akhtarin and members of Al-Hamza Division, while the militiamen beat the elderly man when he tried to prevent them from assaulting the young man.
Arrests and kidnappings
SOHR documented the arbitrary arrest of three people, including a woman, and the kidnapping of a young man in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings in July. They are distributed as follows:
-Arbitrary arrests: Three cases.
- A young man was arrested in Al-Bab city for “incitement against the Turkish minister of interior affairs” following the latest statements by the Turkish minister, in which he announced the Turkish government’s readiness to politically support the regime to expel SDF from border areas.
- A civilian was arrested for “practicing witchcraft.”
- A female activist in an office communicating with the “Association of Female Survivors” was arrested in Azaz city on fabricated charges, including “impersonation and looting money from the association.”
-Kidnappings: One case
Armed men in military uniforms of the Turkish-backed “National Army” kidnapped a young man on Al-Zeraa’h road in the youth residence area in Al-Bab city, east of Aleppo. The young man was taken to an unknown destination and his fate remains unknown.
As a part of ongoing violation by Turkish-backed factions, SOHR sources reported on July 19 that “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” imposed levies ranging from 1,000 USD to 2,000 USD per month on the owners of quarries in the predominantly-Kurdish village of Ablah. “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” threatened to close the quarries in the case that their owners did not pay the levies.
This came after “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” faction had taken control over Ablah village following violent clashes between “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” and “Ahrar Al-Sham” faction on June 18, 2022, in which nine people, including two children of one family, were killed.
It seems that violations in “Euphrates Shield” area will not stop as long as Turkish forces and their proxies keep breaching all international laws and charters, while no party or international or regional player is exhibiting any willingness to put an end to these “grave” violations, despite SOHR repeated warnings about the dreadful humanitarian situation in the region.