2020 in North-East Syria: Ideological attacks and resistance
2020 has been a year of various ideological attacks on the North-East Syrian revolution. The resistance against the attacks targeting the essence of the revolution continued to grow.
In North-East Syria where Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê were invaded in the beginning of 2020, multiple and conventional attacks against the revolution continued throughout the year.
The revolution of the peoples of North-East Syria was subjected to military, political and diplomatic attacks in 2020 aiming at stifling the revolution.
While the ideological attacks targeted the "democratic nation" and "third way" strategy, which forms the essence of the revolution, continued in multiple directions, the revolutionaries managed to frustrate many attacks.
Important topics in diplomatic, political and military agenda in North-East Syria in 2020 are as follows:
NATIONAL UNITY: PARTNERSHIP OR DIVIDING?
The pro-unity talks between the Kurdish parties in Rojava and the Turkish state-affiliated ENKS (Kurdish National Council in Syria), which started under the initiative of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) and mediated by the USA and France, continued throughout the year.
On May 19, 25 political parties in the Autonomous Administration came together and formed the Parties for Kurdish National Unity (PYNK).
Making a joint statement in Qamishli on 17 June, PYNK and ENKS announced that they reached a consensus within the framework of the 2014 Duhok agreement (Management, Partnership, Security and Defence).
After frequent ENKS visits to Hewler and Ankara, the negotiations came to a dead end from time to time due to ENKS opposition to the Kurdish education and the co-chair system and ENKS plan to divide Rojava into two parts".
Despite the obstacles stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the Autonomous Administration and the Syrian Democratic Council (MSD) continued diplomatic contacts both inside and outside the year.
Representatives of North-East Syria visited European countries and Middle East countries such as Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Iraq and opened representative offices in 8 European countries.
During the year, many delegations from countries such as Sweden, Belgium, France, USA, Austria, Albania, Finland, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan visited North-East Syria.
Delegations from North-East Syria also visited many countries in Europe, Asia and America. In addition, many online meetings and interviews were held.
On August 31, the MSD delegation signed an agreement with the Syrian People's Will Party in Moscow and then met with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
MSD held its conference after many meetings in North-East Syria.
CAESAR ACT: LAW OF ECONOMIC WAR
The Caesar Act, which targeted Syria economically, put into effect by the United States on 17 June. The US dollar, which was 500 Syrian pounds at the beginning of 2020, reached 3,000 Syrian pounds by the end of the year.
The European Union put 8 Syrian businesspersons and 2 organizations on the sanctions list on 17 February.
The US put the Syrian regime's defence minister Ali Abdullah Eyyub on the sanctions list on March 18.
The Caesar Act which targeted 39 individuals and organizations, including Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife Asma Assad, hit the Syrian people the most.
2 officials of the Damascus regime, 9 companies and the Central Bank of Syria were added to the sanctions list on December 22, which is intended to be renewed every 6 months,
TALKS CONCERNING SYRIA: MEETINGS WITH NO RESULTS
The series of talks in the international arena, which claimed a political solution to the Syrian crisis but only deepened the crisis, continued in 2020.
16 talks between Russia and the Turkish state, 19 talks between Turkish state and the US and 2 talks between Russia between the US took place.
Two summits were held with the participation of the UK, Germany, France and the Turkish state (the first in January and the second via videoconferencing in March). In addition, 11 sessions on Syria were held at the Security Council of UN during the year.
Two meetings (in Astana format) on Syria initiated by Russia, Iran and the Turkish state were held (April 22 and July 7).
CONSTITUTIONAL NEGOTIATIONS: CONSTITUTION WITHOUT KURDS
Kurds and the North-East Syrian Administration, which represent 5 million people, were excluded from the Constitutional Committee, which was established as a result of the Astana negotiations between Russia, Iran and the Turkish state.
The Constitutional Committee, which was formed in Sochi and moved to Geneva, held a meeting in December 2019 and 3 meetings in 2020 (March, August and November-December).
During the fourth and last meetings held between 30 November and 4 October, the gangs that the Turkish state supported did not utter the "provisional government" condition specified in UNSC's resolution 2254.
IDLIB ISSUE: BOTH WITHDRAWAL AND MILITARY BUILD-UP
Although there were violent clashes in Idlib, which turned into a deadlock in the Syrian war, in 2020, the Syrian regime and its supporters did not fully achieve their goal.
After the New Year, with the support of Russia and Iran, the Syrian regime intensified its operations in Idlib and captured the towns of Maarat al-Numan and Saraqib, the M5 highway and many regions in the west of Aleppo.
In February, Russian and regime warplanes targeted the Turkish army, dozens of Turkish soldiers were killed, 8 Turkish observation points remained surrounded by the regime forces.
Calling for help from NATO, the Turkish state, unable to get the military support it had hoped for, set off to Moscow.
Putin made Erdogan and his cabinet wait at the door on March 5, then made them line up in front of the picture of Catherine the Great and the March 5th armistice was signed.
By the end of the year, the Erdogan regime, which had previously said "the regime would be pulled beyond our observation points as soon as possible", evacuated 8 observation points.
However, the Turkish army established more than 60 military bases in the regions it controlled.
GANG TRANSFER: EXPORT FROM TURKEY
The Turkish state turned the gangs who committed all kinds of war crimes against the Syrian peoples, especially the Kurds, into weapons that threaten the whole world.
The Turkish state sent thousands of Syrian gangs to Libya and Karabakh during the year.
Although not confirmed yet, the Syrian gangs of the Turkish state are reported to have been deployed to Kashmir, Qatar and Sudan.
ASSASINATIONS OF TRIBAL LEADERS: KURDISH-ARABIC ALLIANCE TARGETED
The attacks aimed at disrupting the Kurdish-Arab alliance which is the pillar of the revolution, peaked in 2020.
In July, many Arab chieftains were targeted in the attacks and assassinations, especially in Deir ez-Zor.
However, the Arab tribes, who raised their voice in the streets, eliminated the dissension introduced by the Turkish state, the Syrian regime and gang groups.
DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGE: TURKIFICATION PRACTICES CONTINUED
The Turkish state continued demographic change in Afrin, Jarablus, al-Bab, Azaz, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, which it occupied in 2020.
Many gang members and their families brought in from different regions were settled in Afrin, Girê Spî and Serêkaniyê.
Many gang members disguised as Turkmen were stationed on the border lines and an attempt was made to create a "Turkmen belt" in the region.
AFRIN: WAR CRIMES CONTINUED WITHOUT INTERRUPTION
Dirty actions of the invading Turkish state in Afrin, such as demographic change, massacre, injury, kidnapping, torture, rape, destroying historical sites and cemeteries, cutting down olive trees and plundering olives, peaked in 2020.
Throughout the year, dozens of people, including women, children and the elderly, were murdered, while dozens of people were injured.
While 805 women were abducted during the year, 54 women were killed. In May, 11 women were put in prisons of the gangs.
While hundreds of people were kidnapped by gangs for ransom, the abducted people were subjected to severe torture and at least 4 identifiable people died under torture.
While many historical sites such as Girê Istêr, Girê Cirnas, Şêx Mihemed cemetery, Girê Dêrsiwan, Til Eqreb and Syros were destroyed, cemeteries were also the target of the invaders.
While the forced deportation of the Kurds who remained in the city continued throughout the year, the Yazidi House in the centre of the city was turned into a Qur'an course.
While at least 36 thousand olive trees were cut down, the olive and olive oils of Afrin were also plundered by the Turkish state.
ATTACKS OF TURKEY: OCCUPATION ATTACKS CONTINUE
The invading Turkish state and its gang groups continued their attacks throughout the year, especially on the Shehba, Manbij, Ain Issa, Kobanê, Tel Tamer, Zirgan and Dêrik lines.
Dozens of civilians, including women and children, were killed in attacks with drones and heavy weapons.
HRE: THE CHILDREN OF AFRIN CONTINUE THEIR ACTION
The Afrin Liberation Forces (HRE) continued their actions against the invaders throughout the year, primarily in Afrin, as well as in Azaz, Mare, al-Rai and al-Bab.
According to the HRE, 302 mercenaries and Turkish soldiers were killed and more than 300 gangs and soldiers were injured in 144 armed conflicts throughout the year.
ANTI-ISIS OPERATIONS: THE SDF CONTINUED ITS FIGHT AGAINST TERROR
The SDF continued its operations against the sleeper cells of ISIS gangs throughout the year.
With the support of the international coalition against ISIS, two comprehensive operations were carried out under the title "Ending Terrorism".
Between 4-10 June, 110 ISIS suspects were detained in the first operation involving 150 villages.
In the second comprehensive operation between 17-21 July, 11 ISIS suspects were detained.
In addition, 68 ISIS members were detained in 25 different operations in the rural areas of Hesekê, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa.
ISIS FAMILIES: IGNORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
Tens of thousands of ISIS members and their families detained in North-East Syria continue to be a problem for the region.
While the international community did not take steps to prosecute ISIS members, the North-East Syria Autonomous Administration released 631 ISIS suspects in October under the supervision of the tribes.
Since 2014 People's Defence Courts have tried 7,000 ISIS suspects who were Syrian citizens.
In 2020, 200 foreign children and 29 women were delivered to the representatives of origin countries.
However, there are still 49 thousand children in camps in North-East Syria, including more than 8 thousand foreign nationals, more than 20 thousand Iraqis and over 21 thousand Syrians.
KDP'S BLACK PROPAGANDA: KDP-TURKEY PARTNERSHIP AGAINST ROJAVA
Simultaneously with the Turkish state's policy of hostility towards North-East Syria, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) focused on black propaganda attacks against Rojava in 2020.
On the one hand, the KDP is trying to destroy the gains of the revolution through ENKS, on the other hand it attacks Rojava in coordination with the Turkish state.
KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani claimed during a meeting with US Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn in December that the support given to the SDF went to the PKK.
One day after this statement, Serbest Lezgin from the KDP claimed in a statement on behalf of the Ministry of Peshmerga that the YPG attacked the Peshmerga. The YPG denied this claim.
Thereupon, Masrour Barzani asked the US troops to be deployed on the border with Rojava and Bashur (South Kurdistan) in his meeting with US officials.
CUTTING THE WATER FROM ALOUK STATION
The Turkish state used water as a weapon against the region, in addition to its military, political, diplomatic, black propaganda and spying activities against North-East Syria throughout the year.
The Turkish state, which cut the Euphrates water during the summer, also cut the drinking water that came to Hesekê from the Alouk Water Station, which it had seized after the invasion of Serekaniye.
While the international calls to the Turkish state which left one million 200 thousand people without water, did not find much place, the water flow to Hesekê was cut again for more than a month.
COVID-19: A SUCCESSFUL STRUGGLE DESPITE OBSTACLES
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has affected North-East Syria as well as the whole world.
The first coronavirus case in Syria was detected in Damascus on 22 March. The North-East Syria Autonomous Administration declared the first curfew within the scope of coronavirus measures.
By the end of the year in North-East Syria, the total number of cases reached 8 thousand, while the number of deaths exceeded 270.