“Euphrates Shield” areas and surroundings in April 2023 | Nearly 45 casualties in acts of violence…nine infightings and explosions…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 April’s prominent developments in these areas, which could be summarised in the following main points:
In April 2023, SOHR activists documented the death of 20 people in areas under the control of Turkish forces and factions operating under the banner of “Euphrates Shield” operations room and their surroundings in the northern, eastern and north-eastern countryside of Aleppo. The fatalities’ breakdown is as follows:
- Two children were killed in explosions of old ordnance.
- Five civilians were murdered.
- Two civilians killed by Turkish-backed factions.
- A civilian died under torture in a prison of Turkish-backed factions.
- A civilian was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
- Five killed in factional infighting.
- One killed in clashes with regime forces.
- Two killed by International Coalition Forces.
-An ISIS commander was killed in an operation by International Coalition Forces.
SOHR also documented the injury of over 22 people in acts of violence in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings in April 2023.
The circumstances of the death of those civilians and combatants can be summarised as follows:
- April 2: Two children were killed in the explosion of an old landmine in Tadef in Aleppo countryside.
- April 9: A young man was stabbed to death by a person of “Ghawy” family, during clashes in Al-Bab city in eastern Aleppo countryside.
- April 10: A civilian died under brutal torturing in the prison of the Turkish-backed “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya”, after being arrested for five months, where he was taken to Al-Azrak hospital in A’zaz city in Aleppo countryside and he was secretly buried by his family under orders of the faction.
- April 13: A civilian and his sister were shot dead by their brother foloowing a fight for unknown reason in Jarabulus city in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
- April 15: A displaced person from Al-Bolail city in Deir Ezzor countryside was killed during quarrels with a member of Al-Hamza Division in Al-Bab city in Aleppo countryside for unknown reasons.
- April 17: A woman was killed in a vehicle used for smuggling humans, where she was shot dead by members of Ahrar Al-Sham Movement in Jab Al-Na’asan village in Al-Bab city in eastern Aleppo countryside.
- April 21: A 13 years-old child was shot dead by a man in “Al-Nour” camp in Shamarin town eastern of A’zaz city in northern Aleppo countryside following disagreement between the boy and the murderer’s little daughter over the priority of playing on a swing.
- April 27: Gunmen in a “Santa fe” car shot a man and his son on the road of Qabasin-Al-Bab in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, what resulted in the death of the father.
- April 29: A 16 years-old boy died and his body was found in agricultural lands in Al-Bab city within areas of Turkish-backed factions in eastern Aleppo countryside.
- April 4: Three members of “Asifat Al-Shamal” faction and fourth one of “Al-Jabhah Al-Shamiyah” were killed during the violent clashes between Al-Shahbaa Gathering and “Al-Jabhah Al-Shamiyah” in A’zaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- April 17: Two members of Suqor Al-Shamal and an ISIS commander were killed in an airdrop operation by the International Coalition in Al-Suwaidah village in Ghandourah district in Jarabulus countryside, which is controlled by Turkish forces and their proxy factions in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
- April 20: A member of the military police was killed during clashes in Bab Al-Salama camp on the Syria-Turkey border in the northern countryside of Aleppo between young men from Tel Rifaat and others from Mayer.
- April 20: A member of “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” died of the wounds he had sustained in earlier clashes with regime forces in neighbourhoods of Tadef city in Aleppo countryside.
“Euphrates Shield” area experienced three explosions in April, two of which were caused by explosions of old ordnance and the third was caused by detonating an IED. Here are further details:
- April 2: Two children were killed in the explosion of an old landmine in Tadef in Aleppo countryside.
- April 8: Two children were injured due to the explosion of a landmine of war remnants in Al-Ghandora town near Jarablus in eastern Aleppo countryside, where the injured people were taken to Jarablus Hospital to receive proper medication.
- April 12: Unidentified people detonated an IED in the vehicle of the activist “Abd Allah Al-Omar”, the manager of the Baladna TV channel, near Al-Kafin Square in A’zaz city northern of Aleppo, without leaving casualties.
Also, in April 2023, SOHR activists documented six infightings in “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings; they are as follows:
- April 3: Violent clashes with heavy and medium machineguns have erupted between residents of Hayan of Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyah faction and a group of “Aby Zaid Hassano” of Andan, which belongs to Tagamao’ Al-Shohabaa (compound) eastern of A’zaz city within “Euphrates Shield” area. No casualties were reproted.
- April 4: Three members of “Asifat Al-Shamal” faction and fourth one of “Al-Jabhah Al-Shamiyah” were killed during the violent clashes between Al-Shahbaa Gathering and “Al-Jabhah Al-Shamiyah” in Azaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
- April 14: A civilian was injured in an armed family infighting between a family of Al-Khatib family, which is displaced from Al-Safira town south eastern of Aleppo, and “Zamy” family from Al-Bab city in eastern Aleppo countryside.
- April 17: Quarrels took place in Marae’ city in northern Aleppo countryside between drug dealers due to disputes that escalated to armed clashes, where one was injured by a gunshot to the leg and was taken to the hospital to receive proper medication.
- April 17: A civilian shot his uncle following quarrels between them, injuring him severely, where clashes with light weapons erupted between residents of Al-Shaikh Eissa town inside Shamarikh camp on the outskirts of A’zaz city, amid a state of panic and chaos in the region.
- April 20: A member of the military police was killed and another was injured on the eve of Eid Al-Fitr during clashes between young men from Tel Rifaat and others from Mayer in Bab Al-Salama camp on the Syria-Turkey border in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
As Turkish-backed factions continue their violations against the residents of “Euphrates Shield” area and its surroundings, SOHR documented, in April, three incidents of imposition of levies on civilians by the factions and an incident of seizure of houses.
The first incident of the imposition of levies was documented on April 7, when SOHR sources reported that checkpoints of the Turkish-backed faction of “Sultan Murad” stationed on the road to Jarabulus in Al-Qadi village imposed levies of 400 to 500 SYP on the drivers of cars and mini-buses, which triggered public anger.
The second incident was documented on April 29, when SOHR sources reported that members of a checkpoint of “Sultan Murad” faction stationed an the road in Jarabulus city in eastern Aleppo and Al-Ra’i city in the northern countryside of Aleppo imposed levies of 200 to 400 TL on the drivers of private and public cars and grand trucks.
The third incident took place on April 11 when the command of the Turkish-backed division of “Muhamed Al-Fateh” released a regime soldier accused of “involving in war crimes against civilians,” after having paid a sum of money estimated to be 3,000 USD.
In addition, “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” seized houses in Suran city in Azaz countryside in northern Aleppo under the pretext that “the owners of these houses belonged to ISIS.” Although the courthouse in Azaz issued a decision bringing those house back to their owners, “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” members refused to leave the houses.
Furthermore, SOHR activists documented four assaults by factions of the “National Army” occurred in “Euphrates Shield” area in the past month, with the first incident taking place on April 7 when members of a patrol of the anti-terrorism service of the military police in Suran city in northern Aleppo brutally beat a child for “undermining the revolution flag.”
While on April 14, members of an armed group of “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” assaulted a child, as he accidentally hit the motorcycle of a member of the group while riding his motorcycle. Following the accident, members of the group stormed Banyan school in the west of Al-Centre roundabout in Al-Bab city in the east of Aleppo, where they opened fire indiscriminately inside and outside the school to intimidate residents, before escaping.
Similarly, on April 15, members of “Jaish Al-Sharqiya” from Deir Ezzor severely beat a civilian from Al-Bab city in north eastern Aleppo countryside, when he rejected the establishment of a mobile checkpoint in front of his store in the centre of the city’s market.
On April 19, members of the military police of Turkish-backed factions brutally beat a young man in Al-Souq street in Azaz city in the northern countryside of Aleppo following altercation with the young man, as they claimed that he young man had “stared at them.
Arrests and kidnaps
“Euphrates Shield” area experienced three cases of arbitrary arrests in April, where members of a patrol of the anti-terrorism service of the military police arrested a 14-year-old boy in Suran city in northern Aleppo, after having stormed his family’s house and brutally beat and verbally abused him for “undermining the revolution flag.”
Meanwhile, members of “Suqour Al-Sham” faction arrested a civilian in Al-Ghandourah town in Al-Bab countryside in eastern Aleppo to collect a ransom. According to SOHR sources, the civilian, who is from Al-Thawrah town in Al-Raqqah countryside, had sneaked to areas controlled by Turkish forces and their proxy factions with the help of smugglers.
Also, members of “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” stationed at a checkpoint at the entrance of Azaz city in eastern Aleppo arrested a civilian from Afrin for “dealing with the former Autonomous Administration.” The man was handed over to the anti-terrorism department in Azaz city.
On the other hand, SOHR documented only one case of kidnapping civilians in “Euphrates Shield” area in April, where an armed gang belonging to what is known as Al-Shahbaa gathering, kidnapped a displaced person from Homs province, in Al-Bab city in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor within “Euphrates Shield,” where he was taken to a prison of “HTS” in Idlib, on the pretext that he is wanted by a leader of “HTS.”
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.