Turkish Drones Terrorize North and East Syrian Skies

On November 9th, 2021 a car in the Hileliye neighborhood of Qamishli was targeted and destroyed in a Turkish drone strike. Three civilian occupants of the car were killed, including 86-year-old Yousef Gulo. The family are prominent supporters of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), and many of them have been killed in the war against ISIS. The funeral for the three victims was held on November 11, attended by thousands of mourners carrying banners condemning the Turkish attacks and occupation.

The wreckage of the vehicle targeted by the Turkish drone

This drone strike is part of a new pattern of Turkish attacks that have emerged in the latter half of 2021. Turkish Air Force drones have been targeting Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers, civilian members of the AANES, and prominent families in the region. These attacks are a blatant violation of the ceasefires signed with Russia and the United States, and prominent members of the AANES have called on the international community to put an end to the attacks. 

The AANES Continues Combatting the Recruitment of Children

On November 11, 2021, the Child Protection Office returned two children who had joined the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to their families. The children were from Kobani, where the Child Protection Office in Armed Conflicts has established a branch since the opening of the Office in Hasakah last year. 

Since SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi signed an agreement with the United Nations to prevent the recruitment of children, an extremely common issue in Syria’s Civil War, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has prioritized the issue. Over 200 minors have since been returned to their families after joining the SDF. 

Child Protection Office in Hasakah returning children to their families

The SDF are among the first actors in the region to sign an action plan to prevent the recruitment of anyone under the age of 18 into their military forces. The conflict has made official age assessment procedures difficult to carry out, but since the plan was signed, the United Nations has stated that the SDF’s recruitment has fallen significantly, while that of other actors such as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkish-backed militias has increased.

USAID Sends Thousands of Tons of Wheat Seeds to North and East Syria

The United States Agency for Aid and International Development has continued to provide support to North and East Syria, sending approximately 3,000 tons of wheat seeds to the region. 

North and East Syria is traditionally the center of Syria’s wheat production, but in the past few years, the industry has suffered greatly due to significantly lower water levels in the Euphrates River. This has taken place as a result of Turkish weaponization of water, reducing the flow of water into North and East Syria. 

Low rainfalls have further exacerbated the drought that is taking place, and the AANES has stated that as a result, the wheat production will meet only two-thirds of the region’s needs. Seed shortages have also taken place as a result of weak seed production due to the aforementioned factors.