RISH AYNO, Syria — On Wednesday, news spread across social media of the rape and murder of an Iraqi child, Yassin Raad al-Mahmoud, in the Turkish-occupied city of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) at the hands of a man named Mustafa Salama. He was reportedly a member of the Syrian National Army’s (SNA) Suqur al-Shamal faction, though SNA affiliated authorities have denied his membership, claiming he was a civilian. Local activists have refuted the authority’s claims.
Yassin was studying in the second grade at an institute for memorizing the Quran. He sold bread with his mother and brother so the family could make ends meet.
Local sources stated that Yassin’s body was found dumped near his house in the Al-Mahatta neighborhood. He was killed with a sharp object. The sources noted that the perpetrator took advantage of clashes between SNA groups in the area and dumped the body during them in an attempt to cover up his crime.
A forensic doctor’s report showed that Yassin had been raped prior to his murder.
SNA Military Police announced they had arrested the perpetrator and were investigating if anyone else was involved in the crime.
The horrid crime provoked great anger in the community.
Students and teachers of Osama al-Marei School in Rish Ayno staged demonstrations in solidarity with the family.
Hundreds also gathered in front of the military police headquarters demanding the perpetrator be executed.
Late on Thursday, local sources reported Salama was killed by unknown gunmen who ambushed the SNA Military Policy unit transferring him from the Military Police headquarters to the Civil Police. One member of the Military Police was wounded in the ambush.
In October 2019, Turkey and its proxies in the 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.