This week in Northern Syria (XVIII)
A rundown of key events from Turkish/SNA & SDF-controlled territories
11/01/22: The Syrian Interim Government’s Ministry of Defense announced that it would begin paying salaries to the families of deceased SNA members, through its “Martyrs’ office.” These are to begin with a 2,300 Turkish Lira down payment to be followed by 400 TL monthly payments. These will be wired to recipients through PTT, Turkey’s national postal service which now operates offices throughout Turkish-controlled northern Syria.
11/02/22: The Netherlands repatriated twelve women and 28 children from al-Hawl camp, reportedly the largest group the country has collected so far. The women were arrested on terrorist charges upon reentry while the children were turned over the child services. According to Enab Baladi, approximately 120 Dutch nationals remain in detention in northeastern Syria.
11/02/22: SyriaTV reported that Christian private schools operating in al-Qamishli had received orders from the AANES Education Commission to stop teaching the regime curriculum within a week or face ‘necessary measures.’ Sources told SyriaTV that the AANES had also ordered such schools to stop enrolling non-Christian students. It appears that after the AANES’s September ruling on curriculum, many Christian private schools have either been shutdown by on the orders of the Asayish or have relocated their headquarters to regime pockets of control in northeastern Syria (in al-Qamishli and al-Hasakah cities).
11/02/22: The Islamic State responded to last week’s SDF/Coalition raids with a number of attacks on SDF targets in Deir ez-Zour, including the kidnapping and beheading of one SDF fighter in the village of Jazrat al-Bouhamid.
11/02/22: Al-Monitor reported on the ongoing fuel controversy: HTS & co. have been accusing the Third Legion in A‘zaz of preventing fuel from entering Afrin and Idlib, Third Legion denies this, claims that Idlib is primarily reliant on fuel entering from Turkey via Bab al-Hawa, and accuse of HTS of scapegoating them. Unclear who is telling the truth here but with winter approaching the situation is grim for civilians.
11/03/22: Nine year old Naranj al-Hafiz was run over by a Turkish military vehicle while on her way to school in the town of Tell Halaf, just west of Turkish/SNA-controlled Ras al-’Ain city. She died soon after on the way to the hospital.
11/03/22: Clashes broke out between Furqat al-Sultan Suleiman Shah and the SDF and/or regime forces on the Afrin/al-Shahba’ front, between Inab and Shawarghat al-Arz, resulting in the death of a Suleiman Shah fighter. This is only really noteworthy as it demonstrates how SNA control has changed in Afrin. From 2018 until last month this stretch of front line was manned by the Third Legion/al-Jabhah al-Shamiyah. Only since the HTS invasion of Afrin has Suleiman Shah taken it over.
11/04/22: Protests broke out in al-Bab regarding Jabal ‘Aqil, a hill on the western edge of the city. The hilltop had been the site of a residential neighborhood up until the battle for the city in early 2017, when Turkey and its allies captured al-Bab from IS. By the time the strategically hilltop was finally seized much of the neighborhood lay in ruins. Rather than allow for reconstruction, the Turkish military built a military base on Sheikh ‘Aqil. Protests such as these have occurred over the years, led by original inhabitants of the hilltop neighborhood against the demolition and the lack of compensation they’ve received since.
11/06/22: YPG member Kamal Muhammad Ali Dodo (“Mitan Shorash”) was killed when a Turkish drone targeted his car in western al-Qamishli city. Local media mentioned several others being wounded, however reports vary on whether they were civilians or fellow SDF members.
11/07/22: Local Telegram channels (as well as al-’Arabi al-Jadid) reported that HTS forces put a Third Legion base headed by an ‘Abu Faisal al-Homsi’ in the village of Çolaqa (belonging to the Cindires subdistrict of Afrin) under siege. Soon after some other (anti-Third Legion) Telegram channels reported 100 fighters had defected to Ahrar al-Sham. I haven’t seen enough reporting on this to fully confirm the story, but it’s interesting to see reports of Third Legion forces still so deep in Afrin after almost all withdrew last month.
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Geolocation of 2013 footage of base belonging to Liwa’ ‘Asifat al-Shamal - now a key component of al-Jabhah al-Shamiyah/Third Legion - right on the Turkish-Syrian border.