Early October of last year, American forces began withdrawing from their bases between the cities of Ras Al-Ain and Tel Abyad in conjunction with statements from US President Donald Trump declaring that the United States does not intend to enter into a direct clash with Turkish forces in the event that the latter began a military action against SDF northeast of Syria What irritated the leadership of SDF, which described these statements as “treacherous”, while analysts at the time predicted a coming storm on the region and an inevitable escalation.
On October 9 last year 2019, Turkish forces and the opposition forces backed by them launched a military operation in the northeast of the country against the so-called “SDF”, of which the Kurdish People’s Protection Units are the largest number.
As Turkish military aviation began targeting SDF sites in Ras Al-Ain and Tal Abyad, then groups entered from what is known today as the “Syrian National Army”
It is a number of factions supported by Turkey, from three axes (Ras Al-Ain, Tal Abyad, and the area between them towards the M4 road), which caused the loss of contact between SDF groups in the three regions and the flight of a large number of their elements, while a number of others hid among civilians after changing the military uniform.
The clashes continued over more than 100 km for a period of ten days in each of the areas of Ras al-Ain, al-Mabrouka, the vicinity of Tal Tamr, Soluk, Tal Abyad, Nass Tal, Zaidi and some villages on the M4 road.
The vicinity of Ain Issa, during which the two sides exchanged the bombing, and a large number of SDF fighters were captured, most of them known as the “Asayish” security forces, and a number of others surrendered while some of the SDF groups refused to surrender.
Hence, stayed and find points surrounding the opposition factions, and cells in the same city spread in some cities, which subsequently carried out a series of bombings targeting city centers and a number of Turkish and “national” barriers in addition to carrying out kidnappings and assassinations of a number of opposition elements concentrated in the area of conduct.
During the military operation, the SDF militia summoned columns belonging to the Assad regime, known as Border Forces Hajana, accompanied by a number of vehicles and armored vehicles, and entered them to areas passing through the Raqqa governorate. These reinforcements were spread along the separation border.
What caused clashes between the latter and the opposition factions until reached toan agreement , while several meetings took place between Russia and Turkey until the two parties reached a ceasefire for 120 hours, which the two parties renewed again a few days after the first truce ended, Then an agreement was reached stipulating the stabilization of influence, the cessation of hostilities, and the conduct of Turkish-Russian joint patrols along the M4 road to monitor the ceasefire until things stabilized as they are today.
A series of terrorist attacks and bombings struck the region immediately after the Turkish side announced control of the cities included in its military action, and the beginning was in the centers of the cities and towns of Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ain, Salouk, and al-Mabrouka, by detonating car bombs among civilian gatherings.
As a result, at least 400 civilians fell and fell within three months after declaring control over the area, while mine-clearance teams began to survey the entire area and search tunnels left by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, some of which were also booby-trapped.
Investigations later proved the involvement of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in these bombings after the revelation of how and the arrest of a number of the perpetrators, but the residents add another reason for these security breaches.
It is not only the activity of SDF cells, but also facilities and cooperation directly by a number of elements of the “National Army” in return for large sums of money, or in exchange for facilitating the entry of some shipments (drugs) of all kinds from the unit areas to the areas of “Nabaa Al-Salam” and in this way specifically occurred More than 5 explosions of cars and trucks transporting narcotic drugs to a number of the headquarters of the National Army before they exploded inside them.
In addition to devising a new method by faction elements to “live” known in the ocean as “companionship”, which is that the element accompanies a truck carrying goods coming from the areas of influence of the Kurdish units and charges an amount of money in exchange for not obstructing the passage of trucks or confiscating their cargo,
This was another way for the units to enter the truck bombs and detonate them remotely in the civilian gatherings, in addition to the presence of former elements in each of the People’s Protection Units and the Islamic State (within the ranks of the National Army) despite the fact that the factions leadership was aware of their presence,
But these occupy a number of leadership and management positions that certainly allow them to facilitate the passage of booby traps, protect sleeping cells and prevent their detection or detention of their personnel.
Euphrates Post correspondent conducted a private interview with a member of the “National Army” in the Ras Al-Ain region, more details in the following link
The factions of the “National Army” began about a month after imposing full control with the establishment of the police and judiciary and some administrative offices in addition to the local councils in the “Spring of Peace” in an attempt to organize the administrative aspects and control the state of chaos that resulted from the operation
The military opened offices for the military police and the civil police in both Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad to receive complaints from civilians, but these offices, according to the residents of the area, did not play the desired role due to the entry of the same military factions into their establishment.
After the increasing complaints of civilians during February and January of this year, and even some complainants were subjected to harassment and attacks due to complaints, the residents no longer hesitate to these offices for fear of reprisals, and described the activity of these offices and agencies for “media consumption” by broadcasting a number of clips that attempt Administrative courts and some political offices coming from Turkish territory with civilians.
In the month of November of the year 2019, the local councils were established and according to sources from the opposition, their establishment came in accordance with the tribal, religious and ethnic balance in order to provide services to all residents without differentiating between them, according to what the council members said at the time to local media.
However, a number of civilians demonstrated recently, and after the lapse of months after the end of the military operation, protesting against raising the prices of bread and foodstuffs that are supposed to be subject to control by local councils, in addition to other popular protests due to the confiscation of a huge amount of crop products and a number of agricultural lands owned by civilians. By the factions under the pretext of belonging to the organization of PKK and the deterioration of the living situation in general, which we will get more details about during the survey.
With regard to the only effective medical services, the Turkish government has reactivated the Ray Al-Ain and Tel Abyad hospitals since the tenth month of last year and is considered the most organized medical services among the rest of the services.
Where the hospitals of the two cities receive all the injured and sick and provide them with the necessary medicines and transfer the injured military personnel to hospitals in Turkey to complete the treatment and then return to the interior, but with this organization only a number of towns and villages do not have even one clinic or medical point like the town of Mabrouka which mediates areas Opposition influence to the south,
In addition to the emergence of some obstacles recently with regard to the entry of children with severe diseases to the Turkish lands for treatment, despite the announcement by the crossings administration that it is possible to enter 5 sick children daily, but this decision was not implemented.
Most of the residents of the “Spring of Peace”, which lies between the northern countryside of the provinces of Raqqa and Hasaka, depend on the cultivation of strategic crops such as wheat, barley and some vegetables to secure their daily food.
The reason is due to the circumstances that the region witnessed before and after the entrance of the opposition factions to the region, where the area of cultivated land is more than 170 thousand hectares, including about 50 thousand hectares of land owned by the “Libyan Company” which was established in 1978 and in 2012 the People’s Protection Units controlled , The lands were confiscated for the benefit of its members, who leased these lands to farmers in exchange for sharing the profits and this continued until the opposition factions entered the region recently.
Nearly 100 thousand hectares belong to civilians living from their cultivation, and there are also more than 10 huge silos to collect agricultural crops, and the output of the agricultural crop is estimated at 36 thousand hectares, including the Libyan company’s lands that extend from the administrative borders between Raqqa and Hasaka towards the city of Ras Al-Ain, With more than (800 thousand tons) of wheat, barley and strategic crops, whether it was rainfed or irrigated, according to statements of the General Grain Corporation of the Provisional Government.
Here, it must be noted that the first attacks that targeted the lives of the residents of the “Spring of Peace”, represented by stealing their agricultural crops from the products of last year, immediately after the control of the opposition factions,
The first of which was the “Ahrar al-Sharqiya” faction seizing the grain of Tal Abyad grain silos in which more than 200 thousand tons of crops were stored alone. Furat Post published a detailed article on the disposal of Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction to these tons of wheat crops through brokers of Al-Qatirji Company for their owners Hossam Al-Qatirji, one of the arms The Assad economic system,
While other factions such as the AL JABHA AL SHAMIYA -Military Division 20-Majd Corps seized more than 150,000 tons of civilian crops in 15 towns north of Ain Issa in the countryside of Raqqa after accusations of belonging to the PKK also belonging to the owners of these crops, in addition to stealing “harvesters” And the equipment of farmers in all the areas controlled, and the value of this equipment was estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars, and these thefts were capable of fueling popular discontent against the opposition factions that, according to the people, “targeted them instead of the declared enemy.”
Euphrates Post reporter interviewed a civilian in Tal Abyad who spoke about violations against the people of the area. More details in the following link:
This was in the agricultural season of the last year, whose harvest and storage coincided with the start of the “Spring of Peace” process. As for the current season, according to our sources in the region, it was more like a “forced system” due to several points, including
-Setting the sale price per ton at $ 220-225 is subject to a phased deduction that we will explain until the price reaches less than $ 120, in clear contrast with the price per ton in the areas of the “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch”, which was outnumbered by at least twice The price, and here we note that this price will come after the farmer was damaged by the theft of his equipment and the production of his crop from last year.
Imposing fines under the name of “fees or zakat” on every farmer determined by the faction controlling the region, which is estimated at 20% of the amount of the sale.-
Confiscation of large areas of agricultural land belonging to “civilians” who have no relationship with any party, on charges of belonging to the PKK
Restricting the farmer by selling his crop to the entity or individuals who each faction identifies to each agricultural region.-
Dozens of farmers were arrested after violating the instructions of the factions, and several others were arrested under the pretext of belonging to the PKK.-
Increasing the prices of fertilizers and pesticides needed for agricultural lands.-
All of the above are security chaos, confiscations, arbitrary arrests, thefts, and the imposition of royalties, in addition to raising the prices of basic commodities and imposing restrictions on farmers,
The residents were forced to go out in demonstrations to protest these pressures against them and fight them by the factions, and the last of these protests was what the city of Tal Abyad witnessed when a number of civilians gathered in front of the local council building last week, expressing their dissatisfaction to raise the price of KG bread to Turkish lira. After imposing dealing in the Turkish lira within the regions of northern Syria.
Returning to the Libyan company’s lands, the company stopped work in 2012 due to clashes in the region at the time, so that the Kurdish units seized these lands and gave them to a number of their leaders and leased the remaining section to farmers in exchange for a percentage of the season’s profits,
On the other hand, the protection units in that period seized a number of the lands of civilians residing in Turkey, while the units took control over the area over dozens of vehicles owned by the Libyan company and granted them to the military groups while they sold the rest.
Not that the situation did not differ much after the opposition factions took control of the company’s lands, as the squad faction confiscated 20 quantities of fuel from the allocations of civilians who included irrigation projects within the company’s lands and the group also laid hands on the quantities of the crops of farmers who included months ago these lands on charges of dealing with the SDF Protection units,
The 20th squad started cultivating large areas of the Libyan company’s lands in preparation for the current year’s season, while the 20th squad profits alone were less than the other harvest from the current harvesting season by more than one million US dollars.
The “Hamza Squad” faction continued what the factions started, but in the city of Ras Al-Ain and its surroundings, by seizing grain silos containing tons of stored crops, and stealing a number of public facilities, including the property of two merchants from the Kurdish and Christian component, and armed robbery at a number of shops in the city in addition to When the faction gained from the so-called “spoils of war” that were not limited to what the Kurdish protection units left in their military headquarters, but exceeded it to include civilians,
What caused the emigration of most of the Christian community. After their number, prior to the military operation, were about 300 Christian families in the city alone, the number today reached less than 9 families who did not have the opportunity to “escape” from the area.
Moving to livelihoods and trade in general and placing the labor market within the same region, the behavior and center of the cities of Ras Al-Ain and Tal Abyad are the most active in these areas. The activity includes food trade and a number of industrial groups for car maintenance in addition to popular markets and some grocery stores and gatherings for street vendors,
Not all of them escaped the attacks of the factions, as our sources have documented in the markets of the town of Behavior, which is the commercial artery of the areas of “Spring of Peace”, a number of armed robberies by what is known as the “Eastern Army” controlling the town on a number of grocery stores and stealing sums of money and quantities of Tobacco “cigarettes” by the elements of the faction.
Internal violations and conflicts:
“Independent” human rights organizations have documented many violations against human rights and murders committed by factions of the “National Army” during the military operation “Nabaa Al-Salam”, the most prominent of which was the assassination of Kurdish political activist Hefrin Khalaf by members of the “Free Eastern” faction, who died as a result of targeting her car during Passing via the M4 road heading to the city of Hasaka in conjunction with the arrival of the faction of the same road.
In addition to a series of attacks on beatings and kidnappings of the residents of the region carried out by the factions under the leadership of the “National Army” under many pretexts, such as belonging to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and other pretexts that were fabricated for the residents, in addition to stealing homes in entire cities and towns, displacing Arabs before the rest of the components, and indiscriminate shooting that It caused panic for children, parents and many other violations.
The elements of al-Jabha alshamya assaulted, immediately after the faction penetrated deep into the city of Tal Abyad, against the preacher of one of the mosques and his family and beat them and then stole jewelry of the wife and daughters of the man in addition to stealing a large amount of money from the same house, followed later by a series of attacks by the same faction on a number of The youths of the region are under the pretext of belonging to the SDF or communicating with it and blackmailing the detainees’ families in exchange for their release after days of being tortured and tortured in the “Jabha al-shamya” prisons.
The military campaign also caused the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians during the hostilities and the migration of civilians continued after the campaign ended until today. Most of these went to the cities of Qamishli and Hasaka, which are under the control of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and a number of others, to the areas under the control of the Assad regime,
Meanwhile, the residents of Al-Mabrouka camp in Hasaka countryside, two days after the factions of the “National Army” entered the area, heading to other camps, “such as Al-Areesh, Al-Sad and Al-Hawl” in the neighboring countryside, who were transported by Syrian Red Crescent cars because of the lack of services and violations of the factions.
To see the region in general between the first and fifth months of this year, a wave of internal conflicts between the factions, which seemed to be nearing the end of civilians and the transition to the conflict. The rest of the population called it a “conflict of interests”, as clashes broke out between the Hamza division and a number of the factions of the region caused by disputes over Sharing “spoils and loot”.
The “Ahrar al-Sharqiya” faction launched two attacks on the headquarters of the 20th Division, against the backdrop of the division’s control of the largest sector within the areas of the “Spring of Peace”, which includes the lands of the Libyan company, which appears to be “Ahrar al-Sharqiya” was placing it on the agenda of “his work,” the first in January of this year , And the second in May of the same year,
These conflicts terrified the remaining residents in the region, while the Turkish army imposed a curfew that lasted for days and caused the disruption of civilian actions, until the Turkish side and a number of faction leaders intervened to resolve the conflict in the area of spring peace.
Disclaimer: Euphrates Post hides the identity of the witnesses residing in the “Spring of Peace” to ensure that they are not exposed to danger
.The network is ready to show the identity of the speakers to international human rights bodies only