The Militarization of Jebel Laylun: Turkish Fortifications in Eastern Afrin

originally published on Popularfront.co In an article published on 16 April 2019, Rojava based Hawar News Agency reported on what it called a ‘separation wall’ being constructed along the eastern stretch of the Afrin district. This story was soon picked up by a number of local outlets and activist networks, sparking protests by native inhabitantsContinue reading “The Militarization of Jebel Laylun: Turkish Fortifications in Eastern Afrin”

Murder, Looting, and Displacement: Two Months into Turkey’s Invasion of Eastern Syria

Dubbed “Operation Peace Spring,” Turkey’s most recent intervention into Syria has by now been going on for more than two months. Green-lit by the withdrawal of American troops from the border region, Turkey’s invasion of the country’s northeast seeks to remove Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the area. Over the course of the offensive,Continue reading “Murder, Looting, and Displacement: Two Months into Turkey’s Invasion of Eastern Syria”

Afrin – Turkish-backed groups undertake live ammunition exercises in Iron Age temple

originally published by Syrians for Truth and Justice On 20 September 2019, opposition news outlet “Nedaa’ Syria” published a video[1] highlighting a live-fire training exercise undertaken by a special force’s unit of the National Front for Liberation (NLF). At just under three minutes long, the video shows fighters using small arms, including hand and rocket-propelled grenades,Continue reading “Afrin – Turkish-backed groups undertake live ammunition exercises in Iron Age temple”

Afrin: Incidents Of Desecration And Destruction Of Cultural Sites

originally published on bellingcat.com Soon after the inception of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in January of 2018, reports began trickling out of Syria’s Afrin district detailing the desecration or destruction of numerous cultural sites in the region. Just two days into the operation, airstrikes inflicted significant damage on Ain Dara, a “Neo-Hittite temple…built by the Arameans inContinue reading “Afrin: Incidents Of Desecration And Destruction Of Cultural Sites”

Remnants Of The Deiri Opposition: Contention And Controversy In North Aleppo

originally published on bellingcat.com Since the onset of its direct intervention in Syria, Turkey has struggled to create stability in northern Aleppo. Writing in mid-2017, Aaron Stein and others attributed this to the Turkish development and support of two conflicting security apparatuses; the newly created local police forces and existent militant opposition, as well as local councilContinue reading “Remnants Of The Deiri Opposition: Contention And Controversy In North Aleppo”

Wrath of the Olives: Tracking the Afrin Insurgency Through Social Media

originally published on bellingcat.com Concluding in late March 2018, Operation Olive Branch resulted in the capture of Kurdish-populated Afrin district of Aleppo by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and allied Free Syrian Army (TFSA) factions. The bulk of Afrin’s YPG and YPJ defenders and over a hundred thousand of its inhabitants fled east to the nearby ShahbaContinue reading “Wrath of the Olives: Tracking the Afrin Insurgency Through Social Media”

Olive Branch Military Outpost Built Atop Afrin Cemetery

originally published on bellingcat.com Since the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and allied Syrian Arab and Turkmen militias concluded “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria in late March of 2018, allegations of human rights abuses have widely circulated on social media. Among these charges is the destruction of graveyards and accompanying shrines throughout Afrin. Videos and photographsContinue reading “Olive Branch Military Outpost Built Atop Afrin Cemetery”

Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya: Exiles of the Euphrates

originally published on bellingcat.com From eastern Aleppo to Raqqa to Mosul, the Islamic State (IS) appears to be losing ground on all sides in recent months. The same pattern holds true in southeastern Syria, a region that stretches from the Jordanian border to the city of Palmyra to the Euphrates river and only rarely featuresContinue reading “Jaysh Usud al-Sharqiya: Exiles of the Euphrates”