“Peace Spring” areas in September 2022 | 12 people killed in acts of violence and crime of raping and killing “Yassin Al-Mahmoud tops the events
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 September 2022.
In September, 13 people were killed in “Peace Spring” areas, and they were as follows:
- Two men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
- A woman and a child were murdered.
- A young man was shot dead by the Turkish Jandarma.
- A man was shot dead by Turkish-backed militiamen.
- Two were killed in gunfire by SDF.
- Four were killed by explosions.
- A militiaman, who raped and killed the little boy“Yassin Al-Mahmoud,” was extra-judicially executed by other militiamen of Turkish-backed factions.
No infightings or factional rivalries were documented by SOHR in “Peace Spring” areas in September. However, the area experienced two explosions in the past month, which left four militiamen dead and others injured, with the first taking place on September 27 when a landmine exploded near Qasimiyah village in Al-Hasakah countryside, killing two militiamen and injuring others. On the following day, September 28, another landmine exploded in the same area, killing two militiamen and injuring others.
The most prominent event in “Peace Spring” area in September was the murder of a little Iraqi boy called “Yassin Al-Mahmoud” on September 14 when a militiaman of a Turkish-backed faction raped and killed him in Ras Ain city (Sere Kaniye). The crime triggered public anger in the area where mass protests took place on September 15 in Ras Al-Ain city in Al-Hasakah countryside and Sluk city in the northern countryside of Al-Raqqah. The protestors called for bringing the murderer to justice. A few hours after those protests, the militiaman, who raped and killed the little boy, was extra-judicially executed while he was deported from the military police branch to the civil police branch in Ras Al-Ain city, as Turkish-backed militiamen stopped the police car and shot him dead.
On September 5, militiamen of the Turkish-backed “National Army” arrested seven people from Al-Darbasiyah city and countryside in northern of Al-Hasakah, while they were attempting to sneak into Turkish territory in Al-Kantary area in “Peace Spring” area with the help of smugglers. According to reliable SOHR sources, members of the “National Army” communicated with the family of a young man from Al-Darbasiyah city, of those who had been arrested, asking them to pay a ransom of 7,000 USD. Meanwhile, the fate of the young man and six other people remains unknown.
Similarly, on September 13, members of the Turkish-backed “National Army” arrested a young man from Darbasiyah countryside, while he was attempting to sneak into Turkish territory from Ras Al-Ain area in “Peace Spring” area with the help of smugglers. According to reliable SOHR sources, members of the “National Army” communicated with the family of the young man, asking them to pay a ransom of 8,000 USD in return for his release. Meanwhile, the fate of the young man remains unknown.
Also, on September 16, members of the Turkish-backed faction of “Jaysh Al-Islam” arrested an elderly Yezidi woman and her son in Al-Sokariyah village, to east of Ras Al-Ain city in “Peace Spring” area for “refused to leave the village after staying in the open for over two weeks, demanding restoration of their properties, including their houses, projects and agricultural wells.” The faction’s members threatened the elderly woman and her son, forcing them to withdraw the complaints they had filed to restore their properties.
On September 19, SOHR sources reported that members of “Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah” faction arrested 17 people from Al-Dirbasiyah, Amouda, the vicinity of Al-Hasakah, Tel Tamr and Qahtaniyah in Al-Hasakah countryside, while they were crossing “Peace Spring” area with the help of smuggler with the aim of sneak into Europe through Turkey. Meanwhile, the faction communicated with the families of three people, asking them to pay ransoms of 8,000 USD per each person in return for their release, while their fate of the young man remains unknown.
While on September 29, members of the Turkish-backed “National Army” killed a kidnapped civilian, after having refused to pay a ransom in return for his release. The militiamen threw the victim’s body near a soil barrier in an area between Al-Aliyah and Makaaf in western Tel Tamr in the north-west of Al-Hasakah. According to SOHR sources, the victim was from Deir Ezzor and he had sneaked into “Peace Spring” area with the help of smugglers affiliated to the “National Army” with the aim of cross into Turkey. However, the smugglers kidnapped him as soon as he had reached “Peace Spring” area, stole his belongings and asked his family to pay a ransom in return for his release.
As a part of the ongoing violations by Turkish-backed factions, members of “Al-Hamza Division” faction which operates under the banner of the Turkish-backed “National Army” cut down trees in “Al-A’bra” neighbourhood in Ras Al-Ain city (Sere Kaniye) in Al-Hasakah countryside near the Syria-Turkey border on September 12. The militiamen collected the felled trees to sell them as fire logs as winter approached. According to Observatory activists, the process of cutting down of trees took place under protection by Al-Hamza Division militiamen, while military vehicles were used for transporting logs to displaced people’s houses seized by the faction’s militiamen in Ras Al-Ain city where logs were stored.
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.