The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SDF-held areas in November 2023 | 62 fatalities in acts of violence…deteriorating security situation…over 15 infightings and murder crimes…ten Turkish airstrikes as part of ongoing military escalation

Areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), (SDF-held areas) experienced in November 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 62 people in November 2023 in light of the ongoing acts of violence in SDF-held areas. Here are further details of those deaths:


-35 civilians, including nine children and six women; they are as follows:


  • A man was killed by ISIS.


  • A man was killed in an airstrike by a Turkish drone.


  • A woman and two children were killed in explosions of old ordnance.


  • Four civilians, including two children, were killed in indiscriminate gunfire.


  • Four civilians, including two children, were killed by SDF.


  • Six civilians, including a child, were killed in tribal and family infightings.


  • 16 civilians, including two children and five women, were murdered.


-21 combatants:


  • Six killed in airstrikes by Turkish drones.


  • Four killed in attacks by ISIS.


  • Two killed in clashes with local gunmen.


  • Three killed by explosions.


  • Three shot dead by unknown gunmen.


  • Three killed in bombardment by regime forces.


-Five tribal gunmen were killed in clashes with SDF.


-One ISIS member was killed by International Coalition Forces and SDF.



Ongoing Turkish escalation


In November, Turkish forces continued their attacks on SDF-controlled areas, including bombardment by ground forces and airstrikes by drones. The Syrian Observatory documented ten drone attacks in the past month, which left seven fatalities: a civilian and six members of military formations operating in SDF-controlled areas, and 11 others injured. The attacks are distributed regionally as follows:


  • Al-Hasakah: Six attacks left a civilian and three combatants dead.


  • Aleppo: Four attacks left three combatants dead.


Similarly, Turkish ground forces carried out several rounds of bombardment on SDF-controlled areas in the past month, leaving several civilians and combatants injured and forcing civilians to displace from their villages, as some shells hit residential areas.



Escalating activity by ISIS cells met by large-scale security campaigns


ISIS continued its operations in areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration in the past month, where it carried out several armed attacks and assassinations through gunfire, attacks with sharp tools and planting IEDs and landmines.


The Syrian Observatory documented nine operations, including armed attacks and explosions, carried out by ISIS cells in SDF-held areas in November 2023. According to SOHR statistics, these attacks left five fatalities: one civilian and four combatants of formations operating in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration.


Those operations are distributed regionally as follows:


  • Deir Ezzor: Six operations left a combatant dead.


  • Al-Hasakah: Two operations left two combatants dead.


  • Al-Raqqah: One operation left a civilian and a combatant 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, 11 anti-ISIS campaigns were carried out in November 2023, including nine joint campaigns with International Coalition Forces. The 11 operations led to the arrest of 21 ISIS members and commanders and the death of one ISIS member.



Escalating security chaos: Scores of infightings and murder crimes


SOHR activists have reported escalation of tribal and family infightings in SDF-controlled areas in November 2023 in light of the growing security chaos and proliferation of arms, amid security powers’ inability to control the security situation. In the past month, SOHR documented four infightings which left six persons dead, including a child; they are distributed regionally as follows:


  • Deir Ezzor: Three infightings left four civilians, including a child, dead.


  • Al-Raqqah: One infighting left two men dead.


Moreover, SOHR documented 12 murder crimes in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in the past month, which left 15 fatalities; they are distributed regionally as follows:


  • Al-Hasakah: Five civilians, including two women.


  • Deir Ezzor: Six civilians, including a child and two women.


  • Al-Raqqah: A man and a child.


  • Aleppo’s Manbij: Three civilians including a woman.



Clashes continue between SDF and local gunmen


Clashes between Syrian Democratic Forces and local and tribal gunmen continued in SDF-controlled areas in November, where an SDF member was killed in the attack which was carried out by local gunmen on November 5 on Al-Sawrfay Checkpoint in Abo Hamam Town eastern of Deir Ezzor, where a girl also died in the clashes, amid information that the site of clashes expanded, with the spread of panic among civilians.


While on November 9, local gunmen fired an RPG on a security checkpoint of Syrian Democratic Forces at a school in Al-Shuhayl town in eastern Deir Ezzor, before opening fire on the checkpoint. Clashes later erupted between the attackers and the SDF fighters stationed at the checkpoint, which resulted in the injury of a five-year-old girl with an indiscriminate gunshot.


Also, on November 26, armed clashes with machineguns erupted between local gunmen and SDF in Deir Ezzor countryside, where the gunmen targeted an SDF checkpoint in Al-Basera Mountain in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside. However, no casualties were reported.


Similarly, on November 28, a member of local gunmen was killed during armed clashes erupted following an attack by local gunmen on SDF military posts SDF in Hawayij town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor


On November 29, local gunmen targeted military posts of SDF, with heavy machineguns and RPG shells, in Al-Shuhail town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, where armed clashes erupted between both sides. No casualties were reported.



More families leave Al-Hawl camp


On November 7 more than 100 Iraqi families are being prepared to deport Al-Hawl Camp in eastern of Al-Hasakah towards Iraq, in coordination with the Autonomous Administration.


While on November 11, 199 families of ISIS members of nearly 776 Iraqi people prepared to leave Al-Hawl camp in north-eastern Al-Hasakah for Iraqi territory. The families hail from Salah Al-Deen, Naynawah, Al-Anbar, Kirkuk, Babel and Baghdad. This comes in light of coordination between the Iraqi government and the Autonomous Administration to evacuate Iraqi citizens.



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.