SDF-held areas in April 2023 | 51 fatalities in acts of violence…deteriorating security…over 23 infightings and murder crimes…20 attacks by ISIS cells
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 April 2023 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 51 people in April 2023 in light of the ongoing acts of violence in SDF-held areas. Here are further details of those deaths:
-16 civilians, including seven children; they are as follows:
- Seven civilians, including four children, were killed by explosions of old ordnance.
- Six civilians were murdered.
- Two little girls were killed in indiscriminate gunfire.
- A little boy was killed by SDF.
- 15 civilians, including a child, were killed in family and tribe infightings.
- 11 killed by ISIS.
- Three killed in airstrikes by Turkish drones.
- One killed in clashes with the Russian-backed 5th
- One killed in clashes with smugglers
-A gunman was killed in clashes with SDF.
-Three ISIS members were killed by SDF and Coalition.
Ongoing Turkish attacks
Turkish military operations, mainly ground bombardment and drone attacks, were documented in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration on several occasions in April. SOHR activists documented no deaths in Turkish ground bombardment in the past month. However, Turkish drone attacks left three combatants dead. Circumstances of April’s attacks by Turkish forces can be summarised as follows:
- April 9: Turkish forces and their proxies have shelled, with artillery, the silos of the SDF-controlled village of Fatsah in Ain Issa countryside in the north-eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah, but no casualties were reported. It is worth noting that sporadic bombardment by Turkish forces on positions in north and east Syria interrupts the tense calm which has recently prevailed in SDF-controlled areas.
- April 13: Turkish forces and their proxy factions fired heavy artillery shells on positions of SDF in the vicinity of Ain Eissa north of Al-Raqqah. No causalities were reported.
- April 18: Turkish forces and their proxies fired heavy artillery shells on military positions of “SDF” in the vicinity of Saida village and the M4 International road in Ain Eissa countryside north of Al-Raqqah. No causalities were reported.
- April 19: Turkish forces and their proxies bombarded SDF-held areas, where the bombardment concentrated on Saida village and the M4 International road in Ain Eissa countryside north of Al-Raqqah. No causalities were reported.
- April 20: Turkish forces and their proxies fired heavy artillery shells on SDF positions near Saida village and the international M4 road in Ain Eissa countryside north of Al-Raqqah. No causalities were reported.
- April 21: Turkish forces and their proxies fired tank shells on Fatisa village in Ain Eissa countryside within SDF-held areas northern of Al-Raqqa.
- April 25: Turkish forces and their proxies fired heavy artillery shells on Al-Shiyokh town western of Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) city on the eastern bank of Euphrates river.
- April 27: Turkish forces and their proxies fired artillery shells on positions in Fatsah village in Ain Issa countryside in northern Al-Raqqah. No causalities were reported.
- April 14: A commander of Syrian Democratic Forces was killed and his escort was injured in an attack by a Turkish drone in the early hours of Friday morning on the vehicle which they were travelling near Nusaybeen crossing on the border with Turkey in Al-Qamishli city in Al-Hasakah province. The injured man was taken to the hospital.
- April 25: Two people work within the Autonomous Administration institutions were killed and a third person was severely injured, due to a Turkish drone targeted a car of the Autonomous Administration south of Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) within SDF-held areas in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, where ambulances were seen rushing to the target site and moving the bodies and the injured one from the targeted car.
Escalating activity by ISIS cells met by large-scale security campaigns
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 20 operations, including armed attacks and explosions, carried out by ISIS cells in SDF-held areas in March 2023. According to SOHR statistics, these attacks left 13 fatalities:
- 11 SDF fighters and members of other formations operating in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration.
- Two ISIS members.
These attacks are distributed regionally as follows:
- Al-Raqqah: Two operations left four combatants dead.
- Deir Ezzor: 15 operations left six combatants dead.
- Al-Hasakah: Three operations left a combatant and two ISIS members dead.
Meanwhile, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the International Coalition, continued their large-scale security campaigns to curb the escalating activity by the organisation and its affiliated cells in SDF-held areas. According to SOHR activists, 15 anti-ISIS campaigns were carried out in April 2023, which led to the arrest of 28 ISIS members and the death of one member.
Ongoing public protests
SOHR activists reported a new series of public protests in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria in April against the polices of Ankara and Turkish-backed factions, while residents staged and participated in many sit-in protests in these areas to express their rejection of the deteriorating living conditions, especially in Deir Ezzor over the acute lack of fuels and teachers’ low salaries.
On April 4, several residents staged a sit-in protest in Al-Izbah and M’eizileh areas in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor and blocked roads using rubber tyres which they had set fire to, calling for paying financial dues of wheat harvest which farmers had provided to the Agricultural Development Company during the past year. The protestors lifted placards with slogans written on them, which read “revenue of the season taken over secretly by the owners of the company.” “Deir Ezzor farmers demand take back wheat bills from the Agricultural Development Company.”
While on April 13, tens of the residents of Al-Jerthi village in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor staged a sit-in protest with the participation of the village’s elders, teachers and students, calling for holding accountable the murderers of a teacher who was killed following renewed infighting between two families in the village a few days earlier. The protestors, who also called for expelling the murderers from Deir Ezzor province, lifted placards with slogans written on them which read “protect my village from strives.” “protect the teachers from murderers.”
Escalating security chaos: Scores of infightings and murder crimes
SOHR activists have reported noticeable escalation of tribal and family infightings in SDF-controlled areas in April 2023 in light of the growing security chaos, proliferation of arms and military and security powers’ inability to control the security situation. In the past month, SOHR documented 17 tribal infightings which left 15 people, including a child, dead and 36 others, including a woman, injured; they are distributed regionally as follows:
- Deir Ezzor: 12 infightings left seven people, including a child, dead and 17 others, including a woman, injured.
- Al-Raqqah: Four infightings left seven persons dead and 19 others injured.
- Aleppo: One infighting left one person dead.
Here are further details on the circumstances of tribal and family infightings in SDF-controlled areas in April 2023:
- April 3: A civilian was killed and another was injured due to a quarrel among a family over a piece of agricultural land, which is evolved to use of weapons in Al-Hamrat area within SDF-held areas in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah.
- April 3: A young man was shot dead by one of his cousins due to disputes that escalated to armed clashes between both sides in Hawayej Bomasa’a town in western Deir Ezzor countryside
- April 4: A civilian died affected by the wounds he sustained earlier today, due to disputes between people of “Al-Farj” and “Al-Kasar” tribes from Mo’aijal village, in Al-Jasmy village in northern Deir Ezzor countryside within SDF-held area, where the disputes escalated to armed clashes between both parties, amid tension in the village.
- April 5: A person was killed and another was injured due to the eruption of clashes with machineguns between cousins of “Al-Sho’aitat” tribe in Al-Mahmida area in Abo Hama town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 5: Three civilians were severely injured in the ongoing clashes for the second consecutive day between “Al-Kassar” and “Al-Faraj” tribes in Al-Jasemi village in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, amid a state of tension among the village’s people.
- April 5: SOHR activists have monitored the death of at least two people of “Al-Sho’aitat tribe in Al-Mahmida area in Abo Hamam town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 6: A person died affected by the injury he sustained by stray bullets, and two others were injured due to the renewal of old disputes between two families of Al-Okaidat tribe which are “Al-Bo Khalaf” and “Al-Bo’az” families in Zaiban town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, amid reports of ongoing clashes and appeals by residents for dignitaries to interfere and break the clashes.
- April 7: A child was shot dead by his uncle during quarrels with the child’s father, that escalated to armed clashes due to an old dispute between them, near the river crossing in Al-Janina town within SDF-held areas in western Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 7: Four civilians were injured and were taken to the hospital in Al-Tabaka city in western Al-Raqqa countryside, due to disputes that escalated to armed clashes between displaced families from Mangh town in Aleppo countryside in Al-Tabaka city and a family of “Al-Bosaraya” tribe.
- April 8: A man died of the wounds he sustained on April 3 in a family infighting which followed disagreements over the possession of a farmland in the SDF-controlled area of Al-Hamrat in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah. It is worth noting that another man was killed during the infighting.
- April 8: SOHR sources have reported renewed infighting between two families in the SDF-controlled village of Hamrat Balasem in the eastern countryside of Al-Raqqah. Violent clashes, which are still underway between gunmen of Al-Madlaj tribe (Al-Balasem) and others of Al-Jamasah tribe, have left five people dead and over ten others injured, amid unconfirmed reports of more fatalities.
- April 8: Three people were injured in armed clashes between two related families, which are “Al-Jissab” family and “Al-Eissa” family, in the market of Gharanij town in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside within SDF-held areas, following the renewal of an old vendetta between both families.
- April 9: A person was injured in tribal infighting between Al-Farj tribe and Al-Dalim tribe due to disputes over investments of oil wells in Al-Jasmy village in northern Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 10: A civilian was killed and another was injured in an armed fight between two families in the SDF-controlled village of Al-Jerthi in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor over an earlier retaliation.
- April 14: Five civilians were injured during a fight among civilians in the 23rd of February Street in Al-Raqqah city due to congestion and scramble on markets a few days before Eid Al-Fitr.
- April 17: Armed tribal clashes have erupted between two families of “Al-Shahabat” tribe following the renewal of an old vendetta, in Al-Zawiya area in Hawayej Zaiban in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, where forces of Hajin Military Council interfered to break the clashes.
- April 19: A woman sustained various injuries during an infighting among cousins of Al-Ekaydat tribe, which followed a dispute that evolved into clashes with machineguns in Theban market in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. The woman was taken to the hospital, amid growing tension the region.
- April 22: Three people were injured in armed clashes that erupted between two families of “Al-Okaidat” tribe, due to the renewal of an old vendetta between the families, in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 23: A 25-year-old man was killed with a gunshot in the head in Jabnah village in Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) in eastern Aleppo over an earlier retaliation started 11 years ago.
- April 27: Two civilians were injured in a tribal infighting between gunmen from Al-Namliyah village and others from Tayeb Al-Faal village in Al-Suwar area in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor following disagreements over the possession of an oil well.
Moreover, SOHR documented six murder crimes in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in the past month over domestic violence, thefts and other unknown motives. These murders left ten civilian fatalities; they are distributed regionally as follows:
- Al-Hasakah: A man.
- Deir Ezzor: Two civilians.
- Al-Raqqah: A man.
- Aleppo: Two civilians in Manbij.
Here are further details:
- April 1: A civilian died affected by the wounds he sustained on March 23, where he was shot by a civilian driving his car in the centre of Manbij city in Maqbarat Youness neighbourhood near (Al-Komin), where they had an argument because the driver was speeding. The shooter fled to an unknown destination.
- April 12: Residents found the body of a young man, who is the nephew of a member of the Russian Reconciliation Committee and belongs to “Al-Bo Saraya” tribe, was found shot dead in Al-Zaghir Jazira village in western Deir Ezzor countryside.
- April 16: A group of people killed a civilian from “Al-Arbaa Al-Kilo” village north-west of Minbij. In detail, gunmen have knocked the “targeted” civilian’s house door and shoot him dead when he opened the door, this took place in Minbij city within SDF-held areas in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
- April 17: A boy of “Al-Helaysat” tribe was shot dead by a man of “Al-Saramedah” tribe in Tel Abyad street in Al-Raqqah city over an earlier retaliation.
- April 18: Gunmen on a motorbike opened fire directly on a civilian for revenge, in Al-Ezba area in northern Deir Ezzor countryside, killing him immediately.
- April 22: A person was shot dead in the head by unidentified gunmen in Al-Hal Central Market in Al-Mashirfa neighbourhood in Al-Hasakah city.
More foreigners of families of ISIS members deported
On April 4, the Department of Foreign Relations of the “Autonomous Administration” in north and east Syria handed over four women and ten children of families of “ISIS” members of Canadian nationalities, who were in “Al-Hawl” and “Roj” camps in Al-Hasakah countryside, to a Canadian delegation headed by “Sebastian Bulliu” officer of the department of emergency operations management and the senior official of security in the ministry of foreign affairs. This comes in line with the agreements signed between the Department of Foreign Relations of the “Autonomous Administration” and the states whose citizens are held in camps within areas controlled by the “Autonomous Administration.”
While on April 22, a Syrian child was shot dead by a member of the military forces which control Al-Hawl camp the far south-eastern region of Al-Hasakah countryside for unknown reasons.
In the case that this incident is intentional, whatever the reasons, the Syrian Observatory condemns this crime and calls for holding the murderer accountable.
Kidnaps and ongoing recruitment of children by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah”
SOHR documented three cases of kidnapping children in SDF-controlled areas in April 2023; they are as follows:
- April 15: Unidentified people in a “Van” car kidnapped a 13 years-old girl in Al-Akirshy village in eastern Al-Raqqa countryside within SDF-held area, where she was taken to an unknown destination and her fate remains unknown, while the security forces interfered to pursue the kidnapping gang.
- April 18: A kidnapping gang has released a child for ransoms, after detaining him for 13 days. According to reliable SOHR sources, contact with the child was lost on April 6, before it was revealed that he was kidnapped. The child hails from Al-Salehiya neighourhood in Al-Hasakah city, where the family paid 5,000 USDs.
- April 8: SOHR activists confirmed that a 16-year-old girl was recruited by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” (the Revolutionary Youth) in Manbij area in the north-eastern countryside of Aleppo.
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.