Reporting and Photography by Christopher Dowd
Turkish Airstrike Kills Civilians in Ayn Issa on 5 July, 2020
A Turkish Airstrike Killed Multiple Civilians in Raqqa Governorate in North-East Syria, in a region often known as Rojava, or the Autonomous Administration or Northern and Eastern Syria on Sunday, the 5th of July. This happened on the M-4 highway just North of Ayn Issa, within the Tell Abyad District of Rojava, or Western Kurdistan. Since there were no Military targets around it is unknown what the Turkish Forces were targeting but this follows a series of Turkish attacks in the Northern Kurdistan Regional Governance, which also reportedly killed civilians. In the Kurdistan Regional Governance, often known as the KRG or Southern Kurdistan, the Turkish Government has stated it is hunting members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), although many have stated they have targeted civilian population centers in Northern Iraq instead, especially within the North of this autonomous Kurdish Region of Iraq.
The Turkish Government has long insisted that the People's Protection Unit's (YPG) and Women's Protection Unit's (YPJ) are the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party and therefore by extension the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are all part of the outlawed PKK. Although almost all other Countries disagree, including all other NATO Countries, and the U.S both helped arm and also assisted the Syrian Democratic Forces with Special Operation Troops as the SDF are the main fighting force behind the liberation of areas previously held by the declared Caliphate of the Jihadist organization known as ISIS. The Syrian Democratic Forces, along with those under the umbrella of them, including the YPG and YPJ have continued counter-terror operations against ISIS although much of their forces have been forced to protect the Syrian-Turkish border from Turkish Troops and Turkish backed-militia's, some of which also have been tied to jihadist organizations, as the Turkish invasion of North-East Syria attempts to push further South into Syria, all during what is suppose to be a Global ceasefire due to the current COVID-19 virus pandemic which has killed hundreds of thousands worldwide and is continuing to rise throughout many Countries.
This invasion into Rojava, North-East Syria, by Turkish Military and the Turkish backed and named "Syrian National Army" or SNA is codenamed "Operation Peace Spring" by the Turkish has been stated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an invasion to clear the border of "terrorist Kurdish militants" and relocate refugees from other areas of Syria into this historically Kurdish border region, yet many, including fellow NATO members, have called it ethnic cleansing, in order to change the Ethnic makeup of the Syrian-Turkish border, and has already killed thousands and has displaced 300,000 civilians since 2019. Turkey invaded shortly after U.S. Troops were ordered back from the border region by President Trump, against the wishes of military advisors and has plunged a region that was just starting to rebuild, and where there was relative peace, especially when compared to other parts of Syria, back into War. Since then the Syrian Arab Army and Russian forces have moved into the areas where the United States previously had a presence in what was described as a low impact and highly successful mission to defeat ISIS, which has been resurgent since the Operation Peace Spring began and the World has been concentrated on the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately this is not the first time civilian vehicle's have been targeted along the strategic M-4 highway in Northern Syria by Turkish Airstrike, which its allies NATO have even found to be indiscriminate and a way to clear the border of Kurds, an ethnic group already often displaced throughout the Kurdish region, and have ben repeatedly targeted and discriminated against especially since the Greater Kurdistan Region, home to over forty-million Kurdish People was separated into four different countries, Turkey, Syrian, Iraq and Iran after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.