Turkish Drone Strikes Targets Residents of North and East Syria
A Turkish drone targeted a civilian car in the Kurdish-majority town of Kobani. Two people were killed and four were wounded, according to reporting at the scene. The victims were all civilians, including two teenagers. The target is thought to have been the Co-Chair for the Justice Commission of Kobani Canton, who was present in the vehicle. The drone strike was conducted on the four-year anniversary of the liberation of Raqqa.
Similar strikes were conducted recently by the Turkish military. In August, a series of attacks targeted multiple Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commanders, and last year, in Kobani as well, three Kurdish women were killed, including Zehra Berkel, a member of the Kongra Star Women’s Movement, in a similar drone strike targeting a local home.
ISIS Families Continue to be Repatriated from Al-Howl Camp
The process of repatriation of foreign ISIS families by their countries of origin continues. In October, German, Danish, and British delegations arrived in North and East Syria to repatriate their citizens. Abdul Karim Omar, Co-Chair of the AANES Office of Foreign Relations, received the delegations upon their arrival. The German officials repatriated 23 children and eight women from Roj camp, thanking the Autonomous Administration for its efforts regarding this humanitarian mission. The Danish delegation likewise thanked the Autonomous Administration and repatriated 14 children and three women from Roj camp.
The British Special Envoy for Syria, Jonathan Hargreaves, came to the region both for the repatriation of three British children, and also to conduct discussions with the AANES. AANES officials and their British counterparts discussed the continuing fight against terrorism, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as well as the British role in these issues. Hargreaves praised the role of the Syrian Democratic Forces in defeating terrorism in the region.
Raqqa Marks Four Years Since its Liberation
The city of Raqqa held celebrations and a military parade to mark four years since the city’s liberation by the Syrian Democratic Forces. The US-led international coalition also marked the anniversary, saying, “We are grateful for the resilience & resolve of the people of NE Syria & SDF who are making Raqqa thrive once again.”
Since its liberation, Raqqa has undergone an extensive reconstruction process that continues today. The physical infrastructure of the city has had to be rebuilt, along with the different institutions that provide services to its residents. Rubble has been cleared, bridges rebuilt, and many roads paved for the first time. Over 120,000 children are attending school in the city once again, made possible by the rehabilitation of the city’s education system.
All of these efforts are being undertaken despite the continued challenges the city and wider region faces. COVID-19 continues to be a major public health crisis due to a lack of vaccines and oxygen, and Raqqa has suffered from the low water levels of the Euphrates as well. Furthermore, the population of the city has skyrocketed. With the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from other parts of Syria, the population of the city has reached almost one million.