Two recent reports reveal staggering human rights violations in northern Syria’s Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê) and Tell Abyad since the cities came under Turkish control in 2019, including 59 civilian fatalities, 592 arrests, and the forced displacement of over 300,000 residents.
The reports, published respectively by Synergy Association for Victims and North Press Agency in October, emerge amid a backdrop of international concern over Turkey’s recent escalation of military aggression in North and East Syria. Both accuse Turkey and its ally, Syrian National Army (SNA), of demographic engineering, violence against civilians, and a failure to provide the civilian population with basic services.
“At least 79 explosions were carried out in areas of Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad during the four years of occupation, killing at least 146 civilians among them women and children while injuring more than 300,” Synergy Association for Victims said. Five civilians were killed and 36 injured during a total of 65 clashes between rival SNA factions, the association added.
North Press, a Syrian news outlet, conducted 21 interviews with resident civilians. Interviewees witnessed the “looting, seizing, setting on fire, and destroying of civilian properties” by Turkish forces and allied SNA. These acts “represent clear racial discrimination constituting a grave violation of international humanitarian law, and a crime against humanity under international criminal law,” North Press concluded.
Both reports offer a bleak assessment of the human rights landscape in the Turkish-controlled regions. Synergy Association for Victims indicated that Turkey aims to “alter a demographic change in the occupied region through forcing tens of thousands of its indigenous people to displace”. Similarly, the North Press Agency report accused Turkey of implementing a “Turkification” policy designed to marginalise the region’s indigenous customs and traditions.