Turkish forces and their affiliated armed opposition groups have not ceased their bombing of northern Syria, despite a call for a ceasefire by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Civilian and IDP-populated areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo, as well as areas and villages in Ein-Issa, Tal-Abyad, northern Raqqa, and Tal Tamr, northwest of Hasakah, have been subjected to repeated daily shelling by Turkish forces and their affiliated opposition groups with heavy weapons and artillery, in complete disregard of the UN initiative for a humanitarian truce to draw attention to efforts to address the risks of the outbreak of coronavirus.
On Monday, the UN Secretary-General launched an appeal “for an immediate ceasefire throughout the world to protect the most vulnerable civilians in the countries experiencing conflicts, with the outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic.”
On the same day, March 23rd, Turkish forces and their armed opposition groups bombed the village of Kor Hassan near the town of Tal-Abyad, in northern countryside of Raqqa, and also bombed the M4 highway and Hoshan village near Ein Issa, northern countryside of Raqqa, in addition to Um al-Keif village, north of Tal Tamr, in the northwestern countryside of Hasakah.
On March 25th, Turkish forces and armed opposition groups bombed al-Fatsah village and the vicinity of the M4 highway in the town of Ein Issa, targeting civilians’ houses.
A child was also killed and two others were seriously injured as a result of a mine which was planted by armed opposition groups in al-Zeitouna village near Tal-Abyad.
On March 26th, Turkish forces bombed the town of Tal Rifa’at in the northern countryside of Aleppo with heavy weapons, injuring civilians.
On March 27th, Turkish forces and their affiliated opposition groups bombed Sayda village in the Ein Issa countryside with heavy weapons and artillery.
On March 28th, Turkish forces bombed the villages of Shawargah and Irshadiyah of the Sharra district, in eastern Afrin, with heavy weapons.
Also, Turkish forces and their affiliated opposition groups bombed the M4 highway and Dibis village near Ein Issa, in the northern countryside of Raqqa.
Turkish shelling on these areas is still ongoing. On March 29th, Turkish forces bombed the villages of Kafr Antoun, Irshadiyah, al-Alqamiyah, al-Malikiyah, Mara’naz, Shawargah, Taneb, Kashta’ar, and Tat Marash of the Sharra district as well as the villages of Aqiba and Soghana in Sherawa district, in southern Afrin.
Turkish forces also shelled the town of Tal Rifaat in the northern countryside of Aleppo, with no reports of injuries.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced its commitment to support the global efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic, and its response to the appeal launched by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The statement indicated at the time that, “any renewed hostilities will create waves of displacement that will affect the remaining healthcare infrastructure, and thus accelerate the spread of the virus and increase its lethality, because of the deterioration of healthcare facilities in Syria due to the war.”
The SDF announced “the commitment to the principle of the right of self-defense and the avoidance of any hostilities,” and called on all Syrian parties in conflict to avoid any military initiatives or actions, and to immediately commit to a humanitarian truce.
For its part, the UN welcomed the SDF statement in which it declared the cessation of military operations in support of the appeal from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In a statement published on Friday on its website, the UN said that the SDF declared its commitment to avoid engaging in military action, and that the Secretary-General calls on other parties in the Syrian conflict to support its appeal.
The UN statement indicated that the UN Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, “stressed his willingness to work with all relevant actors on the ground, as well as with key countries that can support the expansion of work in response to the COVID-19 epidemic and to ensure the continuation of the ceasefire.”
On Saturday, the head of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Media Office, Mustafa Bali, told North-Press that Turkey is still continuing its hostile actions against the northeastern regions of Syria, despite the UN appeal for a comprehensive ceasefire and efforts to confront coronavirus, to which the SDF has responded.
Bali said that they are almost certain that Turkey is preparing field hospitals in Sere-Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and it will transport those infected with coronavirus from Turkey to them.
“If we confirm the information received, then this is considered a biological attack against our areas,” he added.
Mustafa Bali called on the UN and all international institutions to intervene to investigate Turkey’s actions in Syria.