As the conflict in Syria escalates, civilians are fleeing Issa, northeastern Syria


In mid-December, at least 9,500 people were displaced by clashes between the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (TSNA) and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Northern and Eastern Syrian Autonomous Region (AANES), which controls Aid Issa, fired artillery shells into the capital last week from Turkish-backed forces last week. The sound of battle can be heard from sunset to noon.

Ain Issa is located near the Turkish border, 45 km (28 miles) off the road from Tel Abyad. He was captured in October 2011 during Operation Peace Spring in Ankara.

The peace spring operation began after US troops withdrew to establish a safe zone on the Turkish border by clearing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighter jets.

The SDF is made up of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) and is believed by Turkey to be affiliated with the illegal Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK is based in Turkey. The United States and the European Union have been waging an armed uprising against Turkey since the 1980s, calling it a “terrorist group.”

According to the Turkish government, the security zone is 32 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border and 444 km (276 miles) from the Euphrates to Iraq to accommodate the current 2 million Syrian refugees based in Turkey.

They captured the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain near the Turkish border and took control of the 20-kilometer-long inland border into Syria.

SDF spokesman Siyamend Ali said the Turkish-backed forces behind the battle for Al Jazeera were not new since the operation. The TSNA was further deployed to Ain Issa last month.

In particular, two weeks ago, Turkish-backed telegrams were set up on the M4 International Highway. The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a mosque in and around Issa. [with] SDF, “said Ali.

A senior source in the Turkish Defense Ministry told Algeria that there was no fighting in the area.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said that the PKK-YPG militants, based in Ain Issa, south of the M4, had recently attacked our troops north of the M4, but that they had responded appropriately.

“This is not an attack on Issa or an extension of the Peace Spring,” he said.

Civilian change and casualties

As of May 2020, the population was 7,089, according to the United Nations.

AANES Humanitarian Office reports that 6,500 people in the city and 3,000 in other villages have fled since mid-December.

A man still in the city has asked not to be named for fear of retaliation if TSNA takes over Issa Issa. He said he had nowhere to run.

“We are here and we can not leave the city,” he said. We live in peace here. They threatened us with this attack. What do they want? ”He told Al Jazeera

“Even if there is a war, we will not leave”

Most are 55 km (34 miles) south of Ain Issa due to the lack of infrastructure or evacuation camps for displaced civilians.

“Everyone is scared,” said a man in his 50s and a member of the judiciary in Eisenhower.

Their return home, their work, and the democracy we have built. With organizations

According to the AANES office in Ain Issa, 38 civilians have been injured in the city since December 20.

According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, “We are taking necessary security measures to normalize life in the areas under our control and to rebuild the local population.” ”

Turkish troops respond to PKK-YPG terrorist attacks

SDF spokesman Ali said the agreements with Turkey were to prevent fighting.

“But they are violating the agreement and trying to take over new territory,” he said.

Security expert and former Turkish Special Forces member Necdet Ozcelik told Al Jazeera that both sides were trying to legitimize their military operations.

“This is not a ceasefire agreement, because an agreement has been signed between the actors. TSNA and Turkey do not consider the YPG to be legitimate activists,” Ozcelik said.

“From a Turkish point of view, the organization is trying to use some official language to bring more sympathy from the international audience.”

A faint ceasefire

On October 17 last year, the US reached a ceasefire agreement with Turkey, requiring YPG forces to stockpile heavy weapons from the Turkish-controlled security zone.

According to a source in the Turkish Ministry of Defense, the YPG continued to target the military and civilians despite the ceasefire.

“Throughout the peace spring operation, PKK-YPG terrorists have been involved in destructive activities, such as firing on Turkish and Syrian national soldiers. [and] The tunnels were dug to allow explosives to enter the area, ”they said.

Turkey says 15 YPG fighter jets have been killed by the military.

A car bomb had exploded at an Iraqi police recruiting center at Kisak, west of Mosul, killing at least 12 people, including two Turkish security officials. Turkey is responsible for the YPG.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense has designated the M4 highway as a ceasefire route by Ankara. It is “approximately 24-32 km away. [the Turkish] Border

The SDF said Turkey was violating last year’s agreement, but Ali said the current fighting was 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the border.

Ain Issa, a political party member of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), told Al Jazeera that the fighting was within 32 km of the Turkish border.

“It simply came to our notice then that Ankara was a threat to the country’s security,” he said.

Ain Issa is militarily and politically active. It is a strategic city in terms of transportation. The M4 highway extends from the Iraqi border to Aleppo and extends to the Syrian coast.

“Another important issue for Ain Issa is headquarters,” he said [AANES] And its affiliates – Ankara intends to overthrow the project by boycotting its capital.

Ozcelik said the goal of establishing a security zone along his border would improve if Turkey and its local forces captured Ain Issa.

If Turkey seizes ISIS, it will signal future military action [YPG]There is also the PKK in / Ain al Arab / Kobane, ”Ozcelik said.

Russian pressure

Russia has deployed troops in Issa since the US-Turkey ceasefire last year and is based at the former coalition government headquarters.

One month ago, Russia set up three new study camps north of Ain Issa. According to Ozcelik, the region is trying to infiltrate Moscow into US or Turkish territory.

“Russians,” he said [would] “The Turkish army wants to send as many troops as possible to the northeastern part of Syria.”

If [observation posts] If attacked by the SNA or Turkey, Russia would legitimize the deployment of more troops in the area.

Ali, from the SDF, blamed the fighting, especially one kilometer from the Moscow base.

“So far, they have not been in line with the mission,” he said. [the Syrian government and Russia] SDF did nothing to support it. They were silent.

According to the SDC, Russia has been pushing for control of the Syrian government since 2012, pushing for AANES, which controls northeastern Syria.

“Russia has demanded that the region be handed over to the junta to stop the Turkish offensive,” said an SDC member.

As Ali explained, the SDF hoped to exacerbate the situation but refused

Turkey’s main goal is to capture this city.

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