Security chaos continues in Turkish-held areas in northern Syria – local NGO

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) — A new report published by Synergy Association for the victims of northeast Syria detailed the frequent infighting between the Turkish-backed armed opposition factions, also known as Syrian National Army (SNA), in Turkish-held areas of northern Syria.

In October 2019, Turkish forces, with the support of the SNA factions, launched the Operation “Peace Spring” against Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad under the pretext of pushing the fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) away from the Turkish border with Syria.

The Association said it had documented 23 intra-factional clashes between the SNA factions in the regions of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad.  

Hevdestî (Synergy) is a non-profit organization including journalists, human rights activists and researchers from Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad and aims to document the violations committed in the two cities by Syrian armed opposition factions.

The infighting, according to the report, resulted in the death of one civilian and wounded eight others, including a woman and a child. It also killed 19 militants of the SNA factions and injured at least 75.

Synergy Association also documented two failed assassination attempts and four cases of murder – conducted by unidentified gunmen – in which two SNA militants as well as two civilians were killed. “One of the civilians was a jeweler who was shot during a robbery,” the report said.  

The non-governmental organization attributed the majority of clashes to  “disputes over power, drug dealing, and human trafficking between Syria and Turkey.”

Hamza Division, according to the report, has participated more than any other faction in these hostilities, “as it was involved in 16 cases of internal infighting.” Ahrar al-Sharqiya took part in seven, the 20th Division in six and the Military Police faction in five.

Eight internal clashes at least erupted between armed groups of the same faction.

All the internal clashes in Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad regions “broke out in populated areas such as markets, residential neighborhoods, and villages.”

This mayhem is not only limited to civilian casualties and civilian martial damage, “rather they push the population to consider leaving the whole region.”

The daily violations committed by SNA factions, and lack of accountability and persistence of impunity, “make the Turkish-held territories unsafe and not in meeting with the criteria of voluntary return and return set by the United Nations,” concluded the report.

Reporting by Farzand Hussein