ALEPPO, Syria (North Press) – On Tuesday, internally displaced people from the countryside of Aleppo demanded the international community send an international commission of inquiry to investigate the massacres carried out by armed groups eight years ago in the villages of Tel Hasil and Tel Aran, and hold the perpetrators accountable.
Tel Aran and Tel Hasil administratively belong to al-Safira District, southeast of Aleppo, and they are bordered to the west by the Syrian government’s al-Neirab airbase, and to the east by the Kuweires airbase.
The 27th of July marks the anniversary of massacres allegedly carried out by various Syrian armed factions in these two Kurdish-majority villages in 2013, in which dozens of civilians, including children, women, and the elderly were killed.
The two villages, according to press and human rights reports, witnessed serious violations including murder, kidnapping, torture, and displacement in an attack by over twenty Turkish-backed Syrian factions participated, and it lasted for three consecutive days.
A statement issued by Tel Aran and Tel Hasil IDPs on the anniversary of the massacre said on Tuesday that “the attack was followed by theft of property under the name of taking the spoils of war from the infidels.”
“These massacres were later committed in Ras al-Ain [Sere Kaniye], Sinjar, and Kobani” at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS) with the support of the Turkish state, the statement added.
“Turkey still continues to commit massacres and violations against the Syrian people in Afrin, Azaz, Jarablus, al-Bab, Ras al-Ain and Tel Abyad, in front of the world without any moral scruples or legal deterrent,” according to the statement.
The statement called on the international community and the United Nations to form international fact-finding committees “to investigate the massacres and crimes committed by the Turkish-backed opposition factions and hold them accountable.”
“The 2013 attack was shocking, and we did not know at the time that they were from ISIS, al-Nusra, and opposition factions,” said 51-year-old Juma’ Kalo, a displaced person from Tel Hasil.
“The attack was on July 27, and coincided with Ramadan on the 19th. All the villagers were fasting. They stayed outside their village for a week because they weren’t allowed to return to their village,” said Kalo.
More than 30 people were killed in the attack, and there were many cases of abduction including of women, children, and the elderly. Several individuals were arrested under the pretext of being infidels. 15 people are still missing, and their fates are unknown, Kalo added.
Kalo called on the international bodies concerned with human rights to form an international commission of inquiry, investigate the massacre, reveal the fate of the missing, hold the perpetrators accountable, and compensate the affected people morally and materially.
Another Tel Hasil IDP, 36-year-old Muhammad al-Mahdi, said that during the attack, the factions addressed the residents of the village through loudspeakers, threatening them by saying that their property and blood is permissible if they don’t leave.
“I went to my uncle’s and took out my weapon to defend our village, but due to the lack of equal power in terms of numbers and equipment, we had to retreat,” he added.
He told North Press, “What happened to us is a wound that will never heal.”