The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

“Peace Spring” area in November 2023 | 21 casualties in acts of violence…efforts by Turkish forces to entrench their presence…ongoing violations by Turkish-backed factions against civilians

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 November 2023.

 

In November, SOHR documented ten fatalities in “Peace Spring” areas, and here are further details:

 

-Three civilians:

 

  • Two men were killed by Turkish Jandarma.

 

  • A man was killed by a faction of the “National Army.”

 

-Seven combatants:

 

  • Six killed by “Tel Tamr Military Council Forces.”

 

  • One killed by the military police.

 

Also, acts of violence in “Peace Spring” area in the past month left 11 civilians and combatants injured.

 

The most of November’s fatalities among combatants in “Peace Spring” area were documented on November 2 when the SDF-backed “Tel Tamr Military Council Forces” attacked a post of “Al-Hamzat” Division near the Turkish base in Bab Al-Faraj in Abu Rasin countryside in north-western Al-Hasakah. The attack left six members of “Al-Hamzat” Division dead.

 

While on November 5, a member of “Al-Hamzat” Division was shot dead by members of the military police, after having prevented the military police members from inspecting his female relatives at a checkpoint in Sluk town in northern Al-Raqqah.

 

On the other hand, Turkish border guards (Jandarma) continued their violations against civilians, where two young men from Al-Kesrah district in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor were shot dead by Turkish Jandarma on November 10, while attempting to sneak into Turkey from Ras Al-Ain area in Al-Hasakah countryside, seeking a safe haven.

 

Similarly, on November 26, four civilians, including a little girl, sustained various injuries in gunfire by Turkish Jandarma, when they approached the border trip between Syria and Turkey. According to SOHR sources, Turkish border guards opened fire on residential neighbourhoods in Al-Darbasiyah city in northern Al-Hasakah.

 

 

Meanwhile, Turkish forces work on establishing a new military base in “Peace Spring” area, where they brought in engineering machineries and erected soil barriers, on November 9, in western Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Al-Raqqah opposite areas controlled by Syrian Democratic Forces.

 

Heavy gears and military vehicles were stationed in the new base, along with the arrival of groups of infantry forces.

 

According to SOHR sources, the new base is located between two Turkish military bases in Ain Issa countryside, with a distance of three kilometres separating the new base from each of them.

 

 

Also in November, “Peace Spring” area experienced scores of violations by Turkish-backed factions, where communication with a group of 20 people was lost, after having arrived in “Peace Spring” area in the first ten days of November.

 

According to SOHR sources, the group included women and children, and the people went missing after having sneaked, with the help of smugglers, into “Peace Spring” area which was the first stop of their trip to Europe, searching a safe haven.

 

It is worth noting that the smugglers are militiamen of “Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah” faction which is labelled as a terrorist organization by the USA and operates under the banner of the Turkish-backed “National Army.”

 

On November 26, members of the “National Army” kidnapped a farmer, while he was ploughing his land near Aliya Village in western countryside of Tel Tamr district near the frontlines between “Peace Spring” area and areas of Tel Tamr Military Council in Al-Hasakah countryside, with no information regarding his fate.

 

Moreover, people of the Ras Al-Ain/Sere Kaniyeh area, controlled by the Turkish forces, within “Peace Spring” area, suffer from the power, abuses and violations committed against them by the factions operating under the banner of the “National Army”. Moreover, the recent seizure of humanitarian aid entering the area has been added to their suffering.

Ankara-backed factions, especially “Al-Hamzat”, “Al-Sultan Murad” and “Malek Shah”, supervise the process of distributing aid in the region, who in turn distribute it to their families, relatives and gunmen, and exclude needy families from aid.

 

The aid includes foodstuffs, blankets, stationery and other aid that did not reach the majority of families living in the area.

 

During the distribution process, the factions deliberately take souvenir photos, to convince the humanitarian organizations that they are distributing it to the needy and poor people, but in fact, they store the aid in their warehouses, amid threats to anyone provides information about refusing to distribute it to the families.

 

Residents complain about the unjust practices of these factions, despite the calls in the region and the protests that it witnessed during the past months.

 

Their suffering is not limited to that only, but the residents suffer from the difficult living conditions they live in, in terms of high prices, low wages for workers and the loss of basic materials such as fuel and others.

 

The residents appeal to the humanitarian authorities in the region to remove the hand of Ankara-backed factions on civilian and humanitarian life in the region, and call on charitable and humanitarian associations to supervise the distribution of aid entering the region, with the aim of reaching the aid to its beneficiaries.

 

 

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.