“Peace Spring” areas in August 2022 | Eight fatalities in acts of violence…ongoing factional infightings…escalating security chaos
SOHR renews its call to the international community to protect civilians from systematic abuse and violations by Turkish-backed factions
Human rights violations have been escalating in areas under the control of Turkish forces and their proxy factions in Al-Hasakah and Al-Raqqah, known as “Peace Spring” areas, since they were captured in October 2019. These forces’ aim is to accomplish specific economic and political objectives through exploiting the region’s wealth, resources and people.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has monitored and tracked all developments and violations committed in “Peace Spring” areas in August 2022.
In August, eight people were killed in “Peace Spring” areas, and they were as follows:
-Five civilians, including three children:
- Two children were killed in explosions of old ordnance.
- A man was murdered.
- A child was shot dead by Turkish-backed militiamen.
- A man was shot dead by Turkish Jandarma.
-Three Turkish-backed militiamen were killed in factional infightings.
No explosions were documented by SOHR in “Peace Spring” areas in August. However, the area experienced two infightings and factional rivalries in the past month, which left three militiamen dead. Here are further details:
- August 10: Violent clashes erupted between gunmen of Al-Muwali tribe and others of Adawan tribe in Ras Al-Ain city (Sere Kaniye), after militiamen of Al-Muwali tribe had handed over a militiaman from Adawan tribe to the military police. The infighting left a militiaman from each tribe dead and a little girl injured. In addition, many civilian houses sustained material damage due to the infighting which witnessed the use of heavy weapons.
- August 15: A tribal infighting erupted between members of Al-Ekaydat tribe and militiamen of Al-Sultan Murad Division, in which RPGs and heavy and medium weapons were used, in residential neighbourhoods in Ras Al-Ain city. This infighting followed the killing of a tribesman of Al-Ekaydat by members of Al-Sultan Murad Division, while they were attempting to steal the tribesman’s motorcycle.
On the other hand, demonstrations took place, on August 12, in Ras Al-Ain city (Sere Kaniye) in Al-Hasakah countryside, Tel Abyad and Sluk in Al-Raqqah countryside, where protestors opposed the Turkish Foreign Minister’s statements, in which he offered a proposal for a reconciliation between the opposition and Al-Assad’s regime.
On the same day, SOHR activists have monitored military movements of Turkish forces and their proxies in “Peace Spring” areas, where they brought in military vehicles to frontlines with SDF in the area stretching from Abu Rasin countryside to Tel Tamr countryside in Al-Hasakah.
While on August 21, SOHR sources reported that a Syrian civilian of the Yazidi community tried for over a year to regain his properties, including farmlands and houses, which were taken over by “Jaysh Al-Islam” which operates under the banner of the Turkish-backed “National Army.”
It is worth noting that “Jaysh Al-Islam” seized farmlands and houses belonging to residents from Al-Sukkariyah village in the eastern countryside of Ras Al-Ain in “Peace Spring” area, where the houses were turned into military headquarters, while the farmlands were rented out by the faction’s militiamen. SOHR sources confirmed that the Turkish-backed faction’s militiamen expelled the Yazidi civilian when he came with his elderly mother to provide ownership documents, leaving them in the open.
SOHR sources also confirmed that the civilian provided documents proving his ownership of those farmlands whose area is estimated to be nearly 750 acres. The civilian had obtained an approval from the civil council to take back his land. However, “Jaysh Al-Islam” militiamen asked him to pay 150,000 USD in return for handing over the land.
Also, on August 29, unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle opened machinegun fire on a former commander of the Turkish-backed “Al-Hamza Division” in Ras Al-Ain city centre in “Peace Spring” area in Al-Hasakah countryside. The attackers managed to escape, while the former commander was taken to a hospital in Turkey.
According to SOHR activists, the targeted man was discharged by commanders of the “National Army” factions, while residents accuse him of “committing violations against civilians in Ras Al-Ain city and countryside, including kidnappings, arrests, torture, murders and seizure of civilian properties by force.”
Overall, this bleak picture remains in place, with the widespread corruption and tyranny of the Turkish-backed factions without any deterrent preventing them from committing further humanitarian crimes against Syrian civilians in the “Peace Spring” areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, therefore, renews its appeal to the international community not to abandon its responsibility and obligations and find a lasting solution to the tragedy of the region’s civilians that are plagued with systematic abuse and violations committed by lawless factions, including thefts, murders, looting, arrests and kidnappings.