SYRIA: Despite calls for an international ceasefire, Turkish-backed factions attack civilians in Tel Abyad countryside

TEL TAMR, Syria – The Turkish and Syrian National Army (SNA) forces occupying North Syria continue their aggression against civilians despite international calls for a global ceasefire to control the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

The SNA, is a collection of militias, including several espousing Islamist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey.

Ahrar al-Sharqiya, an SNA faction originally from Deir ez-Zor, reportedly harassed several women in the village of Hammam al-Turkman in the southern Tel Abyad countryside. The situation escalated to an exchange of small arms fire with residents of the village which resulted in the wounding of three members of Ahrar al-Sharqiya.

Earlier this month, Ahrar al-Sharqiya stole diesel generators, water pumps, and agricultural equipment from the villages of Kneher, Darko, and Al-Saeed in the countryside of Tel Tamr.

According multiple media and human rights watchdog reports, the factions of the SNA routinely extort civilians in the areas they occupy, forcing them to pay ransom for kidnapped relatives or to buy back their own houses and shops.