what's new? On October 9, a year has passed since Turkey announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring to form a safe zone along the border with Syria in the area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain under the pretext of protecting its national security. The military operation ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the United States of America and Turkey in northern and eastern Syria, which stipulated the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the city and handing it over to the Turkish army and the Syrian opposition factions (the Syrian National Army).
Why is this important? The ceasefire agreement contains a set of provisions aimed at protecting human rights and promoting stability, so it is important to evaluate the agreement to ascertain the extent to which these provisions are applied, as well as the extent to which this agreement is capable of achieving the real purpose of the ceasefire, which is to stabilize, contribute to the improvement of human rights conditions and create an environment conducive to political transition.
What should be done? The United States should re-evaluate the cease-fire agreement transparently as well as put greater pressure on Turkey to comply with its commitments to protect human rights and public property. The US should put in place mechanisms to monitor the agreement on an ongoing basis and work more seriously to find mechanisms to implement UN Resolution 2254, which guarantees the return of displaced people to their cities.
Introduction. On October 9, 2019, the Turkish army launched an air and ground offensive on northeastern Syria in the area between the cities of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain after the withdrawal of U.S. forces. A few days after the SDF dismantled its defense fortifications after a request from the United States, Turkey used Syrian opposition factions such as the Sultan Murada Turkmen faction and the Hamzat faction in this offensive. After several days of fierce fighting, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced on October 17 that the United States and Turkey had reached an agreement to suspend the Turkish military operation for 5 days to allow for the withdrawal of the SDF from a proposed safe area south of the Turkish bo On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached another agreement to extend the ceasefire for an additional 150 hours in order for the SDF to complete its withdrawal 30 kilometers away from the border area, as well as from the cities of Tel Rifaat and Manbij. The agreement also included joint patrols between Russia on the one hand and Turkey on the other, 10 kilometers from the Syrian side of the border, with the exception of the city of Qamishli. The new ceasefire began on October 23 at 12:00 p.m. local time. The Turkish military operation resulted in dozens of casualties and displaced more than 180,000 residents of the region, according to United Nations data. It resulted in looting of public and private property and hundreds of documented human rights violations. A year later, the situation continues to worsen day after day in Ras- Al ain city as a result of the continuing human rights violations by the Syrian National Army factions. This is allegedly a result of Turkish policies that are striving to carry out large-scale demographic change processes, distancing the Kurdish people from their southern borders under the pretext of protecting its national security. No actual threat to its security has been recorded from the Kurdish side. To find out the extent to which the ceasefire agreement achieved its objectives, we selected a random sample of the city’s residents representing all its components (Kurds, Arabs, Christians, and Yazidis) representing different segments (politicians, activists, journalists, and technocrats) in order to evaluate the ceasefire agreement. This consists of 13 items, including an immediate ceasefire and imposing obligations on the two parties in order to protect religious and ethnic minorities, in addition to cooperation in order to fight ISIS and other items.
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