Christian residents of Rish Ayno, Syria, arrested by Turkish-backed faction for demanding return of seized properties

RISH AYNO, Syria — Members of the Sultan Murad Division, part of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), detained two Christian residents of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) who sought the return of their families’ seized properties. The arrests follow a disturbing pattern of demographic change orchestrated by the Turkish occupation and its affiliated factions in North and East Syria.

Sultan Murad apprehended Assef Milli, 47, and Ziad Asfar, 42, after they approached the Civil Police Command of the Turkish occupation to reclaim five homes and agricultural areas confiscated by the faction. The seized properties were converted into military and security installations, while agricultural lands were taken for cultivation and sale by the Hamza Division, also a member of the Turkish-backed SNA and sanctioned by the US for its consistent human rights violations.

Since Turkish forces and their SNA proxies occupied Rish Ayno in 2019, the city and its countryside have witnessed numerous human rights violations, including property confiscation, changes in demographics, and restrictions preventing the return of displaced residents.