Turkish attacks continue during ‘ceasefire’ in Northern Syria

November 1, 2019
A funeral for Syrian Democratic Forces' fighters killed in Serekaniye.

Despite the agreement reached between Russia and Turkey on October 22 in the Russian city of Sochi, which established a 150-hour ceasefire in Northern Syria from October 23–29, air and ground attacks by the Turkish army and its jihadist mercenaries continued uninterrupted.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on October 27 that, as a result of talks with Russia, they would "reposition" their units and accept the deployment of Syrian central government troops on the border.

However, even after this development, Turkish attacks have not abated. According to ANF News, during the period of the “ceasefire”, attacks were concentrated on Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ain) and Ayn Issa. Turkey expanded its zone of occupation and many civilians were kidnapped or murdered.

Cemila Heme, co-chair of the Kurdish Red Crescent (Heyva Sor a Kurd) told ANF News that in the Cizîrê region since October 23, four civilians had been killed by the Turkish state and its jihadist mercenaries, and a further 79 had been injured.

The Rojava Information Center (RIC) reported that between October 23–28, Turkish and jihadist troops attacked Serêkaniyê, Dêrik, Kobanê, Ayn Issa, Dirbêsiyê, Zirgan, Til Temir and Amûdê. Some of these attacks included the use of armed drones and heavy weapons.

From October 28–29, villages to the west of Manbij were attacked by Turkish proxy forces, according to RIC, triggering the large-scale displacement of residents from the area. In Girê Spî (Tel Abyad), Turkish proxies occupied 24 villages to the south after SDF forces had withdrawn under the terms of the Sochi agreement.

Al-Bagdadi operation

RIC confirmed that on the night of October 26–27, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US military raid in Idlib province. The operation was conducted from Erbil, in the Kurdish Regional Government-administered region of Iraq, and not from the US-held Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Some sources claim that this was to avoid passing information on to Turkish intelligence. Al-Baghdadi was located and killed 6 kilometres from the Turkish border.

The SDF, in coordination with Coalition forces conducted raids to successfully capture senior ISIS leaders in Jarabalus, on the border with Turkey, according to the RIC. Raids were also conducted in the Turkish-held area of Afrin.

SDF General Mazloum Abdi announced that al-Baghdadi’s second-in-command and ISIS spokesperson Abu-Hasan al-Muhajir was killed in an operation in Ain al-Baydah village near Jarabalus.

Medical teams targeted

SDF forces have continued to respond to the attacks in self-defence. In the ensuing battles a number of civilians and SDF fighters have been killed and injured.

Turkish forces are targeting medical teams attempting to provide care to the injured and recover bodies.

Berivan Şexo, a Kurdish Red Crescent worker from Dirbesiyê told ANF News: "Due to the Turkish occupation, we could not reach the injured and the dead in Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî.

“Nevertheless, our colleagues set out to rescue civilians. They were captured and murdered. With its attacks, the Turkish state is preventing us from fulfilling our task. Our ambulances are being sent back empty."

Mihammed Osman, who also works for the Kurdish Red Crescent in Dirbesiyê, appealed to the United Nations and the Red Cross for help: "What we are doing is a humanitarian task.

“The Turkish attacks must finally be stopped. Our hospitals, Heyva Sor centres and ambulances are under attack. We have so far lost contact with health teams transporting injured people in four ambulances. In Girê Spî, three of our employees have been murdered.

“We appeal to all people who have a conscience. We, Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs live in our own country. Our social model is considered exemplary worldwide. People have come from Iraq, Syria and many other countries to see this model.

“At the moment we are attacked by [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s mercenary groups, which call themselves ‘Free Army’. These attacks and massacres must be stopped."

According to the RIC, a humanitarian crisis is developing in Hasakah due to water shortages, while displaced families await the construction of a refugee camp outside the city.

Newroz refugee camp near Derik has been reopened to receive displaced persons, however, there are no international aid workers on the ground to provide assistance.

RIC reported that Turkish proxies carried out summary executions in the village of Arayed north of Ayn Issa during the ceasefire and kidnapped and killed three civilians from the same family in the village of Dibish, east of Serêkaniyê.

Sources in Tel Tamer report that two Turkish tanks attacked joint SDF and Syrian army positions during the ceasefire.

Salih Muslim, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), sent out a video message on October 28, encouraging people to mobilise around the world on November 2 (World Kobane Day): “I would like to tell you that we are under attack by Turkish fascism since October 9 until now. These attacks, in spite of the ceasefire, are continuing.

‘This struggle is not only for ourselves’

“Hundreds of our sweet civilians were killed, martyred and many hundreds of them injured. About 300,000 people were displaced from their homes.

“We would like to call on our friends and comrades all over the world to tell them that this struggle is not only for ourselves.

“We are defending the humanitarian values in Europe and all over the world, because we believe that Turkish fascism is dangerous and a threat to everybody.

“Together we will struggle until we have victory and the victory will be for all of us.”

[Compiled from ANF News and Rojava Information Center.]

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.