MFS Commander: Turkey refuses to abide by U.N. coronavirus ceasefire in North Syria

TEL TAMR – Commander of the Syriac Military Council (MFS) Khabur Akkad has called on the Turkish government to abide the United Nation’s call for a ceasefire throughout all of Syria as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, with cases increasing in the Middle East.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the MFS is a founding member, has publicly stated they agree with the U.N.’s position and would abide by a ceasefire. Turkey and its proxy forces in the Syrian National Army (SNA), a collection of militias, including several espousing Islamist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey, have showed no signs they intend on heading the U.N.’s call.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces welcome the call of the United Nations and has declared its commitment to the initiative and full-time efforts to combat the corona epidemic, and in turn called on all parties to an immediate ceasefire, but the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries do not abide by this call,“ said Akkad to Hawar News Agency on the frontlines outside the predominantly Christian region surrounding the town of Tel Tamr.

The SNA groups, alongside Turkish soldiers, currently occupying Tel Abyad, Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), and the surrounding countryside after invading the region in October 2019, continue to launch daily artillery bombardments along the frontline, targeting civilian areas and public utilities as well as military positions of the SDF and Syrian regime forces stationed in the area.

The artillery shelling makes it especially difficult on civilians trying to abide by the Democratic Autonomous Administration’s (DAA) coronavirus “stay-at-home” order.

“During the [recent] shelling, civilians were injured, and this has had a negative impact [coronavirus prevention],” said Akkad. “[The civilians in the area] have not complied with the decision of home quarantine due to the fighting, and if this virus arrives and spreads in the area, we do not have sufficient abilities to fight it,” Akkad said.

Akkad stated that the Turkish rejection of a ceasefire puts the entire region in jeopardy as the coronavirus outbreak worsens and concluded by calling on the international community to pressure Turkey to cease its military operations in North and East Syria.