Arab residents of Sere Kaniye in Hasakah protest against Turkish intervention in Syria. Photo: ARA News
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HASAKAH – Arab tribal groups protested in the city of Sere Kanye (also known as Ras al-Ain) in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province. The demonstrators massed on Wednesday to condemn Turkey’s intervention in Syria.
Hundreds of protesters called on the Turkish forces to withdraw from Syria.
“We condemn the Turkish occupation of Syrian territories. We protested today to show that not only Kurds are against this intervention, but Arabs and all the components of the Syrian society,” one of the protesters told ARA News in Sere Kaniye.
The protesters expressed their anger towards e Turkey’s intervention, emphasising the unity of Syria’s social components.
Speaking to ARA News, the leader of the Adwan tribe, Abdulrazak al-Hilo, said: “In the name of all the Arab tribes and the communities of Ras al-Ain, we condemn the Turkish occupation of Jarablus. We appeal to the international community, the United Nations and human rights organisations to intervene and stop the Turkish violations against the Syrian people.”
Hammed Hamidi, the tribal leader of Tel Halaf town in Hasakah Governorate, told ARA News that Turkey has violated the international law by invading Syrian territory.
“The Turkish government led by Erdogan’s AK party has played a very negative role in the Syrian conflict,” Hamidi said. “Turkey has opened its borders to allow jihadists [to] enter Syria. They helped terrorists invade the Syrian territory.”
The Arab protesters stressed that Turkey’s actions on the Syrian borders do not only target Kurds. The protestors believe that Turkey is endangering Syria’s ethnic and confessional mosaic.
Turkish forces entered the Syrian city of Jarablus on August 24th under the pretext of fighting ISIS and securing Turkey’s borders. However, the Turkish army also attacked Kurdish territory near Kobane, killing scores of civilians and injuring dozens. This action, conceivably directed against Kurdish fighters, raised suspicions about Turkish aims in Syria.
Turkey Seizes Control of 845 km² of Syrian Territory
Turkey’s military forces have captured 845 km² of territory in Syria’s northern Aleppo Governorate since military operations began against the Islamic State (ISIS) and Kurdish forces, officials said.
On August 24, 2016, the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebels launched a military campaign in northern Syria under the banner of “Euphrates Shield”.
Turkey and its allies first captured the city of Jarablus from ISIS without a fight, according to local sources. Then the Turkish army and allied rebels advanced through Aleppo’s northern countryside, where they took over the town of al-Rae and a number of nearby villages. Backed by the US-led coalition, Turkey has also forced the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to withdraw to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, after they fought to expel ISIS militants from the Manbij border pocket.
“The progress comes within the framework of our anti-terrorism campaign to secure Turkey’s southern border,” the Turkish Central Command said, adding that the Turkish army and Turkey-backed rebels have destroyed 516 ISIS positions within 20 days.
However, local activists have said that the Turkish forces captured many ISIS-held areas without a fight.
“Turkey took over Jarablus City within hours, and we’ve seen no resistance from ISIS fighters there,” local media activist Sadoun Hamdan told ARA News.
“When the Turkish forces advanced towards the town of al-Rae north of Aleppo, sporadic clashes took place for a couple of hours and then Turkey announced the liberation of the area from ‘terrorists’,” Hamdan said. “Whereas the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by coalition airstrikes, needed more than two months to liberate Manbij from ISIS. This has raised suspicions over what exactly Turkey means by ‘terrorists’.”
In the meantime, the Kurdish military leadership in northern Syria accused Turkey of bombing SDF positions instead of fighting ISIS.
Reporting by: Haytham Haji and Jan Nasro
Source: ARA News