Child killed during clashes between Damascus forces and Difa al-Watani mercenaries in Hesekê

A child was killed when a rocket hit a house in Hesekê during clashes between Damascus government forces and Difa al-Watani mercenaries.

Clashes between forces affiliated with the Damascus government and Difa al-Watani (also known as National Defence Forces, or NDF for short) have been going on for two days in the security zone of Hesekê.

During the clashes, a two-year-old child named Zedan Mihemed died as a result of a rocket hitting a house in the borough of Kelasê.

The family of Zêdan Mihemed is from Deir ez-Zor and came to Hesekê to live with relatives in Hesekê after the clashes there.

According to data from the human rights organizations operating in the regions of Afrin-Shehba, Cizre and Euphrates in North-East Syria, at least 41 children have been killed by the Turkish state forces and allied mercenaries from 1 January to 2 September, 2023.

In addition, 32 other children were wounded, 4 subjected to sexual assaults, 9 arrested and 8 kidnapped, including a baby.

Part of the northern Syrian city of Hesekê is under the control of the Assad regime. Due to the fighting that broke out early on Wednesday morning in a neighborhood controlled by the government in Damascus, many people are seeking refuge in the areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES).

The NDF is actually a militia of the Syrian regime. In mid-August, clashes broke out in Hesekê after the local NDF commander Abdul Qadir Hamo physically attacked Sheikh Abdul Aziz Muhammad al-Meslet, a leader of the Jubur tribe, and his nephew. The members of the tribe then took to the streets and demanded Hamo's extradition by the Syrian government. Government troops later seized NDF posts. Since then, there has been tension between the two parties in government-controlled neighbourhoods. In a widely circulated video, Hamo called on his militiamen to attack government forces until they are handed back their posts in Hesekê. "You are not soldiers of the state. The state is your enemy," the NDF commander told his militiamen.