When Hassan Jindo, the 38 years old citizen, and his family left the city of #Serê Kaniyê#, following the attack of the Turkish army and factions of the armed Syrian opposition, on October 9, 2019, only a year had passed since their return from Germany to settle again in their hometown.
The “Jindo” family, which had immigrated to Europe in 2015, returned after 3 years to settle again in the city, but because of the Turkish military operation so called “Peace Spring”, they ended up displaced to the town of “Tel Tamr” northwest of the city Hasakah.
“The restoration of security and stability and the improvement of living conditions in Serê Kaniyê, were among the reasons that drove me to return, we wanted to live in the city that embraces our hopes and memories, I can not believe that I become a displaced person and a stranger from my city, that I cannot return to it, even though it is only 35 kilometers from me, ” said Jindo.
“Jindo” now lives with his wife and four children in the town of “Tel Tamr”, he says that he never thinks about returning to “Serê Kaniyê” under the control of the armed opposition factions, which killed his cousin, “Mustafa Hasso,” and two other people on October 17 2019, while they were trying to return to the city to check on their belongings, which are among the many murders documented by Human Rights Watch in its report issued on November 27, 2019.
The city of coexistence.. losing its colors of diversity:
Serê Kaniyê, which before to Turkish operation “Peace Spring”, included Muslims and Christians and Yazidis, from Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Armenians, Assyrians, Chechens and Circassians, and it had always been an example of civil peace and coexistence, the city lost the colors of its national and religious diversity, after the Turkish invasion, to become the demographic mosaic that characterized them torn apart.
After a year since Turkey and the so called Syrian National Army factions, operating under its command, and in the absence of official statistics, activists from the city estimate the percentage of people returned to their homes, is not more than 15% of the total population, which was about 50 thousand people before the notorious “Peace Spring” military operation.
The journalist activist, “Orhan Kamal”, a citizen of “Serê Kaniyê”, points out that the majority of those who returned to the city are “old people”, “Hundreds of those who returned to the city to inspect their homes, left it again, fearing the violations that have occurred, the Syrian National Army militants commit violations against civilians on the one hand, and the lack of security, stability and difficult living conditions on the other hand,” Kamal said to SHAR.
“No safe return” in light of the lethal violations of the “National Army”:
“Turkey deliberately deployed the militants of factions known for extremism who committ violations in Serê Kaniyê, to prevent its residents from returning to their homes and forcibly displacing them,” Um Kawa came out with this impression after she entered the city for the first time, after two months of the Turkish army’s control and factions from The Syrian Armed Opposition.
“They had changed the lock of the door of my house, and the family of one of the militants of “Sultan Murad” Division settled in my house, and wrote on the house is reserved for them, they shot bullets near us to scare us, and they asked us to leave and not to come again,” the fifty years old woman told SHAR.
Um Kawa’s journey with her married daughter to Serê Kaniyê, ended with not allowing her to enter her home in the eastern neighborhood. She got disappointed and returned, to the city of “Amuda” were she resides with her children, since their displacement following the “Peace Spring” operation.
But despite this, “Um Kawa” still keeps the keys to her house, because that symbolises “returning home” for her, “There is no doubt that one day we will return,” she said to SHAR.
Systematic demographic change:
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, documented in its latest report, issued on September 14, that the Syrian National Army factions seized civilian properties in the city of Serê Kaniyê, after forcing the people to flee during operation “Peace Spring”.
The National Army militants and their families occupied the properties of civilians after they fled from it, and ultimately forced the residents, most of whom are Kurds, to leave their homes through threats, extortion, murder, kidnapping, torture and detention.
Meanwhile, civilians expressed to the Investigation Committee their fear of staying and their inability to return to their homes, and some indicated that the leaders of the “National Army” and its fighters had ordered them not to return.
“The factions have turned many homes into military headquarters, and others into secret detention and torture centers, and have written their names or the names of their leaders on the houses and shops; to indicate that they put their hands on that property,” said Kamal, and also affirmed: “The armed groups settled thousands of people coming from Syrian areas in the homes of the residents of Serê Kaniyê who fled, especially in the eastern and northeastern neighborhoods of the city, such as “ Zorava and Ronahi ”neighborhoods, whiche are predominantly Kurdish neighborhoods, as well as the “Zeredasht” neighborhood, southern the city,”.
According to activists and journalists from Serê Kaniyê activists, more than 2,000 families have been brought in from other cities.
The Turkish state of “Shanli urfa” supervises the service and administrative aspects in the cities of Serê Kaniyê and Girê Spî, after the “Peace Spring” operation, after changing the school curricula, and the banners of official institutions in the city, such as hospitals and courts, which wrote in both Arabic and Turkish on them, that was documented by activists and also shown in photos published by news websites close to the Syrian opposition.
Changing the names of regions and headquarters comes after years of the Autonomous Administration’s reliance on writing it in the three languages spoken by the local population (Kurdish, Arabic and Syriac).
The “safe zone” is a clear example of insecurity:
Contrary to the Turkish story, which claimed to establish a “safe zone”, the city Serê Kaniyê and its countryside, since the control of the Turkish forces and the “Syrian National Army” factions, witnessed at least 36 bombings, which killed at least 100 civilians, resulted more than 180 injuries in addition to other numbers of dead and injured citizens, that local committees were not able to document them, according to civilian activists.
The city and its countryside also witnessed, at separate times, battles and clashes between the armed factions, which used light and medium weapons, at least one child was killed, according to residents of the city who told SHAR: “The city and its countryside are no longer a safe environment for living, it seems that it will remain like that under the control of the Syrian National Army factions”.
In its report issued on November 27, 2019, Human Rights Watch accused the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army factions of “preventing the return of Kurdish families displaced as a result of Turkish military operations, and looting their property and occupying them illegally”.
These practices, according to Human Rights Watch, are “compelling evidence that the “safe areas” proposed by Turkey are not safe, contrary to the Turkish narrative that its operation will create a “safe zone”, the groups that Turkey use it to administer the area commit violations against civilians and discriminate on ethnic grounds”.