“We will not hesitate to defend our land,” Matai Hanna, spokesperson of the Syriac Military Council, said after the recent escalation by the Turkish military in the Tal Tamr and Ayn Issa regions of North and East Syria.

Since the start of April 2022, the Turkish military has again undertaken a near-daily drone strike campaign against the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and its institutions, despite the existence of a ceasefire agreement that has been in place since 2019. Since April 1, 2022, Turkish drone strikes have wounded a Syriac Military Council commander, Ferhad Merde. Merde is a prominent Kurdish singer and poet from the region. The strike killed the person who was serving as his driver. A separate Turkish drone strike also wounded several members of the Asayish Internal Security Forces.

The remains of Ferhad Merde’s vehicle, after it was hit by a Turkish drone strike

At the same time, Ayn Issa and its surrounding villages have been pounded with constant artillery from the Turkish-occupied regions near Ras-al-Ayn and Tal Abyad, damaging infrastructure, including a power station near the town of Tel Tamr. 

Syriac Military Council and SDF commander Orom Maroge, who was wounded when a Turkish drone struck his vehicle

The attacks have coincided with the ongoing war in Ukraine, an ongoing crisis which has preoccupied Russia and the United States. Both Russia and the United States act as ceasefire guarantors in North and East Syria. They were also guarantors of a recent political agreement signed between the Assyrian Democratic Organization and Syriac Union Party on April 1, 2022, which stated that decentralization was necessary for the future of Syria. The Syriac Union Party participated in the establishment of the Syrian Democratic Council, while the Assyrian Democratic Organization is affiliated with the Syrian National Coalition, which is based in Turkey.