State of the Occupation Q1 & Q2 2022: Lack of Accountability of SNA Crimes, HTS Incursion in Afrin, and ISIS in Turkish-Occupied Territories

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Download the full report here.

RIC’s quarterly report on the state of the Turkish occupation in Northern Syria tracks human rights violations and crimes committed by Turkey and Turkish-backed SNA groups in the occupied regions of Afrin and the ‘M4 Strip’ – the border region between the occupied cities of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad. From now on, The State of the Occupation report will include the ‘Euphrates Shield’ area among the database and topics’ scope.

During the first two quarters of 2022 (January-June), RIC found among other things:

  • 704 arrests across Turkish-occupied areas of Afrin and the M4 Strip in the first six months of 2022: 408 recorded in Q1 and 296 in Q2. This is an increase of 10% on the total arrests from the same period in 2021 (644).
  • 335 cases of extortion, robbery, unauthorized sale of property, and looting. Afrin is the region where the biggest economic extraction from the local population takes place (89% of all the cases).
  • 64 cases of infighting in the Afrin region and M4 Strip. These numbers are almost double what RIC recorded in the same period of last year (33). Hamza Division ranked highest out of the SNA militias, followed by Ahrar al-Sharqiya and the Military Police.
  • Two alliances centered around Ahrar al-Sham and al-Jabha al-Shamiya clashed in the ‘Euphrates Shield’ and Afrin regions in late June. It was the most serious infighting between SNA militias since autumn 2021. HTS entered large military convoys in Jindires sub-district and took several days to withdraw all its forces to southern Afrin.
  • 32 cases of gender-based violence crimes. Mainly these are connected to unlawful arrest/kidnapping (and extortion). Women and girls have been held under arrest by SNA militias and subjected to rape and sexual violence, causing severe physical and psychological damage.
  • A variety of ties exist between ISIS and the SNA militias. Key ISIS leadership figures continue to base themselves in, comfortably move around, and operate from the Turkish-occupied Syrian territories.
  • On May 11th, the US Treasury released an official decision delineating the lifting of Caesar sanctions just for certain areas of Syria. The Turkish-occupied territories of the M4 Strip and ‘Euphrates Shield’ area benefited. Afrin region continued to be affected by US sanctions.

Journalists and researchers may contact RIC to gain access to the full database, additional interviews with survivors, as well as our interactive map showing faction ownership and geolocated bases within occupied territory. These maps formed the basis for those featured in our report, which were designed by @LCarabinier.


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