Syria’s Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad in August: shelling, security chaos, torture

TEL TAMR, Syria (North Press) – Turkish forces and Turkish-backed armed Syrian opposition factions continued committing violations in the cities of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad throughout August, in addition to repeatedly bombing populated areas.

The region witnessed new events of infighting and security chaos.

Turkish-backed factions have controlled Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad in northeast Syria since late 2019, when they invaded the region and caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Turkish forces and the armed factions intensified their targeting of inhabited areas near the frontlines in Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad, which resulted in the killing of civilians and the displacement of dozens of families from those areas.

On August 4, Turkish forces committed a massacre against a family, where they killed four people and seriously wounded two others due to shelling with heavy weapons. The family were form the village of al-Safawiya, east of Ain Issa, north of Raqqa. 

For three consecutive weeks, Turkish forces heavily bombed the towns of Tel Tamr and Abu Rasin, north of Hasakah, causing destruction to dozens of houses and vital and educational installations.

On the evening of August 9, Turkish artillery bombed Abu Rasin with more than 50 shells, killing a woman and a child in addition to damaging dozens of houses, schools, and electricity lines.

Security chaos

Security chaos, infighting, and theft of civilian houses continues in Tel Abyad and Sere Kaniye, which pushed the residents to demonstrate, describing the opposition militants “terrorists.”

On August 7, three members of the armed factions were injured when a grenade exploded in a car of the opposition factions near the border crossing in Tel Abyad.

On August 8, local sources said that the Turkish-backed Shuhada’ Bader faction, who controls the western countryside of Sere Kaniye, attacked the residents of al-Rawiya village and stole their money after raiding their homes.

This prompted residents of the village to demonstrate and cut off the roads. In return, the faction intervened and broke up the demonstration by force of arms and fired bullets at the demonstrators.

In a video posted on social media, an elderly protester called the armed faction “terrorists” and demanded they leave their areas.

Shuhada’ Bader faction, which is well known for committing successive violations against residents of Sere Kaniye, deprived the residents of their wheat allocations last season.

Three members of the Civil Police and three members of the Hamza Division were injured in an armed clash near al-Bareed (post) Roundabout in the center of Sere Kaniye, informed sources said.

The clash took place after a quarrel between both sides when a car of the Hamza Division stormed a checkpoint of the Civil Police, after which the markets were closed and both sides mobilized their members, according to the sources.

On August 12, Turkish intelligence and opposition militants raided the town of Hammam Turkman in the Tel Abyad countryside and kidnapped two Turkmen women, Rawda Abdel-Ahmed, Maya al-Khalil, and her baby, according to what a special source told North Press.

The source pointed out that the two women had resorted to the Tobal tribe notable Khalaf Muhammad al-Khalaf in the area to protect them, but the militants kidnapped them.

On August 11, the opposition factions kidnapped Ismail al-Salem from the village of al-Amayr in the northern countryside of Ain Issa.

On August 28, the opposition factions killed Muhammad al-Shakam, of the village of al-Zaidi in the district of Suluk in the eastern countryside of Tel Abyad, over a financial dispute as a result of his work in smuggling people to Turkey.

Torturing children

The next day, Turkish intelligence arrested ten-year-old Iyad al-Dahesh after he pelted Turkish military vehicles with stones while they raided his house in the village of Hammam Turkman. His fate is still unknown, according to sources from the city of Tel Abyad.

Moreover, pictures of the body of a child from the countryside of Deir ez-Zor residing in the city of Sere Kaniye showing signs of brutal torture went viral on social media in August.

Activists accused the Sultan Murad faction of being behind the torture. However, despite the faction’s denial of the accusation, activists confirmed that other children are imprisoned in the prisons of the aforementioned faction within the city without knowing their fate.

State of confusion

In early August, the region witnessed a state of confusion among opposition factions following the US sanctions on the Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction, as its leaders executed the Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf nearly two years ago, in addition to the faction’s management of prisons that witnessed executions of hundreds of people near Aleppo.

After the US sanctions, some media outlets close to the opposition sought to publish hoax news stories about the location of the faction and the assassination of its leaders who were included in the sanctions list, according to a report published by the Media Center of the Syrian Democratic Forces on its official website.

The SDF stated that this false news comes in the context of the faction’s failed attempts to disrupt the efforts of human rights organizations and the media to document its crimes and collect more information about its leaders and members (including ISIS members affiliated with it) and prosecute them.

The SDF said they have evidence that refutes all rumors that the aforementioned faction is spreading, accompanied by a report and pictures of the faction’s members inside Sere Kaniye after claiming that they left for the city of Tel Abyad.

Expensive living conditions

In addition to the ongoing security chaos, Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad are witnessing high cost of living amid the deterioration of services.

Informed sources told North Press that the price of a bundle of bread, including 10 loaves of bread, reached 2,000 Syrian pounds (SYP) in both areas while a liter of fuel reached 2,100 SYP.

Reporting by Dilsoz Youssef

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