As residents recover from a deadly, unprovoked Turkish drone strike on Wednesday in Kobani, Syria — a city under the control of the regional government of North and East Syria — it remains unclear whether the international community will condemn Turkey for its ongoing violations of a ceasefire agreement negotiated by the US Government. Turkey continues to claim its attacks are justified by “legitimate concerns” of terrorism. However, no evidence is offered to substantiate Turkish claims.
Experts estimate that Turkey violated its ceasefire agreement over 800 times in its first year of implementation, an average of 2.3 incidents per day.
The ceasefire agreement was signed by Turkey and the United States in October 2019 to end Turkish military hostilities against the areas of Sere Kaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Tel Abyad (Gire Spi). It was negotiated by then-US-Vice-President Mike Pence and Turkish President Reception Tayyip Erdogan, following the implication of sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration against Turkish officials.
According to research published by the Council on Foreign Relations:
In the first year of the ceasefire agreement, “the Turkish military and Turkish-backed militias in the Syrian National Army (SNA) have been implicated in more than eight hundred violent episodes involving civilians or members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since the Ceasefire Agreement was signed. This does not include violations that took place in other parts of Turkish-occupied Syria, such as Afrin. Nor does the figure include infighting between the various Turkish-backed factions in the SNA, where looting often erupts into violent clashes.”– Published by the Council on Foreign Relations
The research, conducted by Middle East expert Dr. Amy Austin Holmes, was based on data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), and was underscored by observations made on the ground in Syria during visits made by Dr. Austin Holmes.
This past week, a Turkish military drone struck a civilian vehicle in Kobani, Syria, killing two and wounding four. All victims were civilians, and two were teenagers.
The Trump Administration indicated in 2019 that it would impose new sanctions on Turkey if it violated the ceasefire agreement. While there can be no question that Turkey has committed many violations, it is unclear how the United States will respond to new hostilities.