Turkey accused of facilitating demographic change in Rish Ayno, North and East Syria, by settling family members of its proxies

RISH AYNO, Syria — Turkey is facing accusations of orchestrating demographic change in the town of Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), North and East Syria, by relocating the families of its proxies in the Syrian National Army (SNA). Reports indicate that 5,500 homes originally owned by displaced residents of Rish Ayno have been seized, and over 55 villages have been emptied of their inhabitants.

Civil activist Mahdi Hussein, a native of Rish Ayno, revealed that family members of the Islamic State (ISIS) members, including three Iraqi families, have been resettled in the area. Additionally, Arabs from various Syrian regions, such as Edleb (Idlib), Holeb (Aleppo), Azaz, and Jarabulus, have been moved into the 5,500 homes that belonged to the indigenous population displaced from the region.

According to Hussein, recruiters and factions supported by Turkey have taken control of 1,200 shops, industrial and commercial establishments, as well as over 1,000 hectares of agricultural land owned by the original residents.

Hussein highlighted the unsettling nature of the situation, recounting a message received by a displaced resident from a settler from Edleb living in their house. The message conveyed a clear warning against any thoughts of returning, asserting that the house no longer belonged to its original owner.

Furthermore, Hussein pointed out that the settlers from distant regions are contributing to demographic and social changes in the occupied city. Notably, Rish Ayno has become administratively affiliated with the Urfa Governorate in Turkey.

As the situation unfolds, displaced activist Mahdi Hussein symbolically held up the key to his house, emphasizing its significance during his period of displacement.