“Euphrates Shield” areas and surroundings in November 2022 | 30 fatalities in acts of violence…three infightings…18 kidnaps and arbitrary arrests…ongoing security chaos
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 November’s prominent developments in these areas, which could be summarised in the following main points:
In November 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 the northern, eastern and north-eastern countryside of Aleppo. The fatalities’ breakdown is as follows:
-11 civilians, including two children:
- A civilian died under torture in a prison of Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement in Qabasin town in eastern Aleppo, two days after having been kidnapped by security service of the movement.
- A civilian was shot dead by his brother in Mare’ city.
- A civilian was shot dead by gunmen on a motorcycle on the road to Al-Amarenah village in Jarabulus countryside.
- A civilian died only one day after having been released from grip of unknown gunmen who had kidnapped him in Al-Bab city and tortured him brutally.
- A young man was found dead with gunshot wounds in the head and chest near Al-Motahalik Al-Janobi (the Southern Bypass) in Al-Bab city.
- Five civilians, including a child, were killed in a massacre in Azaz city because of bombardment with rockets and artillery shells fired from areas where Kurdish and regime forces are deployed.
- A child died of brutal torture by his father in a camp in Azaz city.
- A member of the military police was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Al-Furat road in Jarabulus city in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
- A member of “Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement” was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Tarhin road in Al-Bab countryside.
- A member of Al-Hamza Division was killed by unknown individuals on the road to Al-Amarenah village in Jarabulus countryside.
-A displaced gunman from Deir Ezzor city died of the wounds he sustained during violent clashes with light machineguns between two families from Deir Ezzor city near Fatemah Al-Zahraa mosque in Al-Bab city centre.
-A Turkish soldier was killed in bombardment with rockets, fired from areas where Kurdish and regime forces are deployed in the northern countryside of Aleppo, on “Bab Al-Salama” crossing on the Syria-Turkey border.
SOHR also documented the injury of over 14 people because of acts of violence in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings in November 2022.
Also, in November 2022, SOHR activists documented three infightings in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings, which left one person dead and another injured. Here are further details:
- November 6: Clashes with light and medium machineguns erupted near Khaled ibn Al-Waleed roundabout in Al-Bab city centre in the eastern countryside of Aleppo between a family from Al-Bab city and a displaced family from Deir Ezzor city.
- November 7: A displaced gunman from Deir Ezzor city died of the wounds he sustained during violent clashes with light machineguns between two families from Deir Ezzor city near Fatemah Al-Zahraa mosque in Al-Bab city centre in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
- November 15: A young man was killed in Mare’ city in exchange of fire with Jamil Al-Abbas family.
Furthermore, SOHR activists documented three assault occurred in “Euphrates Shield” areas in the past month; they can be summarised as follows:
- November 14: Police officers of Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah faction severely beat two civilians, one of whom was displaced from Palmyra city in Homs countryside, while the other was displaced from Deir Ezzor province, for “carrying ID cards issued by the local council in Sheikh Hadid district of Afrin countryside, which is under the control of Suleiman Shah faction “Amshat.”
- November 17: Members of the military police severely beat a member of the “National Army” in Al-Bab city, thinking that he was a civilian who had participated in the demonstrations that took place two days earlier and called for holding accountable the killers of the media activist, Abu Ghanum and his wife. According to Syrian Observatory activists, the “National Army” member had been arrested at Al-Bab hospital, before the military police members severely beat him. Hours later, the man was released, after the military police had realised that he was not a civilian, but a member of a “National Army” faction.
- November 21: Members of the Turkish-backed division of “Muhamed Al-Fateh” brutally tortured a guard of a university in Al-Bab city in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, after having prevented them from entering the university’s campus with their weapons. According to SOHR sources, a military group of “Muhamed Al-Fateh” Division operating under the banner of the “National Army” arrested a student inside the university for “participating in protests which had staged in Al-Bab city in Euphrates Shield area.”
Arrests and kidnappings
SOHR documented the arbitrary arrest and kidnapping of 18 people in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings in November. They are distributed as follows:
-Arbitrary arrests: 17 cases.
- 11 people were arrested arbitrarily by the military police in Azaz and Al-Bab cities for “belonging to ISIS.”
- Two persons were arrested by the military police in Mare’ city in the northern countryside of Aleppo for “creating pages on social media, disclosing the corruption and patronage in local councils in the city.”
- A man was arrested in Al-Bab city in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, at orders by a Turkish Wali, after protestors had blocked the Turkish Wali convoy near Al-Centre roundabout in Al-Bab city centre.
- A man was arrested in Al-Bab city for “starting a live video when he was close to a military police patrol.”
- A young man from Palmyra was arrested by the military police in Azaz for unknown reasons. The young man had left Al-Bab city, heading Azaz city on his motorcycle when he was arrested.
- A man was arrested by the military police in Al-Bab city for “communicating with individuals in regime-controlled areas.”
-Kidnappings: One case: An armed gang on a car, “Santa Fe” make, stormed a farm near Al-Ra’i roundabout in Al-Bab city centre in east Aleppo countryside, abducting an elderly man, his wife, and son. According to SOHR activists, the armed gang demanded the relatives of the abductees pay a ransom of 150,000 USD for their release, However, the relatives of the abductees were unable to pay the ransom. The kidnappers released the son and his wife in order to bring the required money for the release of the elderly man, threatening to kill him if the ransom was not paid in three days. A video sent by the kidnapper to the family of the elderly man showing the man while being brutally tortured, which triggered public anger in Al-Bab city over the high rate of kidnappings and killings in the city and failure of security services to control the security situation.
On the other hand, “Euphrates Shield” area witnessed a rape in the past month, as a woman in her fifties was raped in Al-Bab city in Aleppo countryside by a young man from Homs city. The woman’s family filed a complaint against the young man to the military police, and he was arrested by a patrol. According to SOHR activists, one of the military police leaders released the young man a day after his arrest, after he paid a 6,000 USD bribe. The elderly woman’s family filed a new lawsuit against the military police chief. The military police opened an investigation, removing the leader and arresting the rapist by another patrol in Akhtarin city in Azaz countryside, as he was attempting to flee the area.
As a part of the ongoing oppression by Turkish-backed factions, as well as taking over their possessions by force, SOHR sources reported, on November 14, that members of Turkish-backed factions were searching the phones of the people heading to Azaz city, who carry ID cards issued by Al-Sheikh Hadeed civil registry. In addition, the militiamen detained some civilians for several hours under the pretext of “checking their security situations.” The militiamen also seized 6,000 Turkish Liras from a displaced man from Deir Ezzor.
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.