AYN ISSA, Syria — Local sources from Ayn Issa in North and East Syria reported that the Turkish occupation forces north of the M4 began the construction of yet another military base after razing a large area near the village of Saida, northwest of Ayn Issa.
Turkish military bases have been spread along the lines of contact with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Turkish-occupied areas near Tel Tamr, Abu Rasayn (Zarkan), Tel Abyad, and Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn).
In recent weeks, Turkish forces have been evacuating their surrounded military bases in southern Edleb (Idlib) and reinforcing their positions across northwestern and northeastern Syria.
In October 2019, Turkey and its proxies in the Syrian National Army (SNA), a coalition of militias, several of them with extremist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey, invaded the cities of Rish Ayno and Tel Abyad in North and East Syria, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Since the invasion, dozens of Turkish military bases have been established in those areas. The bases are guarded by the SNA who are equipped with armored vehicles and heavy weapons. Additionally, a large number of Turkish commandos are reportedly stationed in the region.
Demographic change and the Turkification of the area continue, with residents being forced to learn the Turkish language, the names of public facilities being replaced with Turkish ones and the hoisting of the Turkish flag over them.
Other human rights abuses continue as well. Turkish-backed factions continue to burn agricultural crops, kidnap civilians for ransom, extort business and families for large sums of money, and engage in torture, murder, and sexual assault.
In September, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a 25-page report calling on Turkey to put an end to wide-spread war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by its proxy forces, the Syrian National Army (SNA), in the areas under its occupation.
According to the report, there is significant evidence that the Turkish-backed SNA has committed, and continue to commit torture, murder, displacement, rape, and the looting of property.
According to researcher Amy Austin Holmes, Turkey and the Turkish-backed SNA violated the ceasefire agreement signed in late October 2019 over 800 times as of October 2020.
Tens of thousands of the civilians displaced from Rish Ayno by the Turkish-led invasion are currently living in tents in Washokani Camp and Rish Ayno Camp, both established by Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria that governs the region.
In statements made to SyriacPress, the Director of Washokani Camp for the Internally Displaced Persons, Fayrouz Rashi, indicated that, due to a lack of international support, conditions in the camp are difficult.
The number of people residing in the camp now exceeds 12,200 from 1,990 families, according to Rashi. With only 1,620 tents available, hundreds of families are forced to share living space.
With winter approaching, the camp administration is doing all they can to keep the residents of the camp safe from the elements. A task made all the more difficult by the lack of international support, said Rashi.
In mid-October, a U.S. delegation visited Washokani for the first time a year after its initial construction and pledged their support for the camp. Likewise, international humanitarian organizations have promised support. So far, no assistance has been provided.
Despite the hardship and lack of resources, the camp administration does its best to ensure that the lives of the camps residents, especially children, progress. Rashi added that there are three schools in the camp serving 1,200 students. The administration of the camp has ensured that students are instructed in their mother tongue, as is required by the DAA.