SDF-held areas in August 2022 | Nearly 80 deaths in acts of violence…ten tribal and family infightings…ongoing military escalation by Turkish forces
SOHR calls for protecting civilians, guaranteeing their rights, and putting an end to violations by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah”
Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), (SDF-held areas) experienced in August 2022 scores of incidents of security disorder and violations against human rights. In this context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has monitored and tracked all key developments in SDF-held areas in the past month.
Deaths in acts of violence
SOHR documented the death of 79 people in August 2022 in light of the ongoing acts of violence in SDF-held areas. Here are further details of those deaths:
-21 civilians, including a woman and nine children; they are as follows:
- Eight civilians, including six children, were killed in Turkish drone attacks.
- Four civilians, including two children, were killed in ground bombardment by Turkish forces.
- Four civilians, including a child, were killed by members of ISIS cells.
- A man and a woman were murdered.
- Two men were killed by indiscriminate gunfire.
- A man was shot dead by Turkish Jandarma.
-25 combatants of military formations operating in SDF-controlled areas:
- 14 killed in Turkish drone attacks.
- Eight killed by members of ISIS cells.
- One killed in clashes with smugglers.
- Two members of “Tel Tamr Military Council Forces” were killed in ground bombardment by Turkish forces.
– 13 SDF and regime soldiers were killed in airstrikes by Turkish fighter jets.
– 19 gunmen were killed in family and tribal infightings.
– A regime soldier was killed by Turkish-backed factions
Ongoing activity by ISIS cells
ISIS continued its operations in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration, where it carried out several armed attacks and assassinations through gunfire, attacks with sharp tools and planting IEDs and landmines.
The Syrian Observatory documented over 19 operations, including armed attacks and explosions, carried out by ISIS cells in SDF-held areas in August 2022. According to SOHR statistics, these attacks left 12 people: four civilians, including a child, and eight combatants, dead.
Meanwhile, Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the International Coalition, continued their large-scale security campaigns to eliminate ISIS and its cells and put an end to their activity in SDF-held areas, particularly in Deir Ezzor, Al-Hasakah and Al-Raqqah.
According to SOHR activists, anti-ISIS campaigns in August 2022 led to the arrest of 18 people for “communicating with and belonging to ISIS.”
Moreover, SOHR documented, in August, the arrest of 21 people by security forces operating in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration for unknown reasons. In addition, tens others were arrested on various charges, as well as the arrest of tens of young people liable for mandatory conscription in the ranks of “Self-defence Forces.”
Ongoing public protests
In August, SDF-controlled areas experienced eight protests by civilians against the deteriorating living conditions and violations by combatants. These protests can be summarised as follows:
- August 1: Residents staged a protest in Al-Sor town in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, demanding the release of 27 members of the SDF-backed “Deir Ezzor Military Council,” who had been arrested during a military course in Al-Omar oil field, which hosts the Coalition’s largest base in Syria, for “communicating with foreign bodies.”
- August 2: Tens of residents demonstrated in Al-Izbah area in northern Deir Ezzor for the same reason. The protestors set fire to rubber tyres and blocked roads, expressing their anger against SDF practices.
- August 13: Residents staged several demonstrations in the villages of Al-Hesan, Muhaymidah and Al-Jalamidah in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor, calling for the immediate release of “Za’em Al-Jafal,” the official in charge of the security of checkpoints of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish).
- August 16: Protests took place in Al-Hesan village over the arrest of a man from the village for unknown reasons.
- August 17: Tens of residents from Al-Muwayleh village near Al-Sor town in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor protested the dreadful living conditions, deteriorating services and corruption in institutions affiliated to the “Autonomous Administration.”
- August 19: Residents of Shenan village in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor took to the streets, protesting the violations by a military commander in that region, as well as the dreadful living conditions and deteriorating services. The protestors set fire to rubber tyres, blocking the main road to the village.
- August 28: Residents of Al-Hesan town in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor set fire to rubber tyres, blocking the road leading to the town, where they demanded the release of people arrested in the anti-drugs campaign that was launched by SDF a week earlier.
Meanwhile, areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration in Aleppo, Al-Raqqah, Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces are experiencing sever shortage of diesel, while long queues of vehicles are seen awaiting in front of petrol stations on a daily basis. The worsening crisis has triggered public anger and resentment, especially since the price of subsidised diesel, which is sold at petrol station when it is available, has increased from 85 SYP to 410 SYP per litre in only two months and a half. Also, the price of diesel which is sold on black markets has increased from 450 SYP to 1,250 SYP per litre.
According to SOHR sources, the shortage of diesel is attributed to the corruption of some officials in charge of fuel affairs in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration, as these officials loot subsidised diesel and sell it at higher prices to merchants on black markets instead of distributing it fairly to petrol stations. In addition, smuggling of fuel to regime-controlled areas and areas under the control of Turkish-backed factions has exacerbated the situation further.
Also, in August, tribal and family infightings escalated dramatically in SDF-controlled areas, as Observatory activists documented ten bloody infightings: four in Deir Ezzor, four in Al-Raqqah, one in Al-Hasakah and one in Ain Al-Arab, which left 19 people dead.
Furthermore, SOHR activists documented two murder crimes in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in August, which left a man and a woman dead.
Ongoing military escalation by Turkish forces
Turkish military operations, including ground attacks and airstrikes by drones, were documented in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration on a daily basis in August. Specifically, SOHR sources reported bombardment with hundreds of rockets and artillery shells fired by Turkish forces and their proxy factions over the past month, targeting different positions in Al-Hasakah, Al-Raqqah and Aleppo countryside, which killed at least four civilians, including two children.
In addition, SOHR activists documented 13 attacks by Turkish drones which killed eight civilians, including six children, and 14 fighters, including a senior commander, and injured 13 others.
Ongoing recruitment of children by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah”
“Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” (the Revolutionary Youth) continues attracting and luring minors to serve in its military ranks, blatantly violating human rights and international resolutions that the Autonomous Administrations and Syria Democratic Forces have signed, while neither the residents’ demands to stop exploiting and recruiting children to military ranks nor the international charters managed to put an end to the recruitment of children by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah.”
On August 8, “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” kidnapped a little girl in Aleppo countryside.
In addition, two other children were kidnapped in Ain Al-Arab area (Kobani) in eastern Aleppo on August 16.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), call upon the authorities in SDF-held areas to fulfil people’s demands that call for the improvement of social and living conditions and not punish them for demanding their rights. We also call on the International Coalition and SDF to intensify their security campaigns against active and sleeping ISIS cells in various areas in east Euphrates to prevent the revival of ISIS which poses a threat to local, regional and international security.
SOHR calls upon the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria, Syria Democratic Forces, and all relevant authorities to put an end to the ongoing violations by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” (the Revolutionary Youth) in the east Euphrates region.