Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) documented the arrest of at least 108 persons in August 2021. The arrests concentrated in the areas of Afrin, Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê and Tal Abyad, which are controlled by the Turkish army and affiliated factions of the opposition Syrian National Army (SNA).
In this report, STJ provides a detailed account of the 108 arrests, which included 14 women and four teenagers. Over the course of the documentation process, STJ recorded the death of one detainee under torture. Additionally, STJ registered the release of only 12 detainees, as of 5 September 2021, while the fate of the remaining 95, including the women and teenagers, continues to be unknown.
Notably, this report draws on two sets of evidence compiled by STJ and Hevdestî Association (Synergy) for the Victims of Turkish Military Offensives in Northeastern Syria. For its part, STJ relied on its network of researchers, civil sources, eyewitnesses, and sources from within the SNA to document arrests and releases across the three target areas, aggregating evidence and information into a designated database.
Arrests in the “Peace Spring” Strip
In the “Peace Spring” strip— including Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê and Tal Abyad, SNA-affiliated factions arrested at least 17 persons, among them two women and a teenager. One of the detainees died under torture, while the fate of the remaining 16 continues to be unknown.
Arrests in Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê
In Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê, STJ and Hevdesti verified the arrests of seven persons. One detainee died under torture and the other six remain unaccounted for.
- Ali al-Ahmad, 35, was arrested on 1 August by the Civil Police while trying to illegally cross the border to Turkey. In detention, Ali was tortured by two Civil Police officers and was subsequently transferred to Ras al-Ayn Public Hospital on 2 August after his health deteriorated. He died at dawn on 3 August.
- Khaled Saad Jebara, born in Raqqa in 2004, was arrested on 19 August from Mabrouka village by members of the Sultan Murad Division on the charge of “dealing with the Autonomous Administration.” One of the eyewitnesses interviewed for this report said that Jebara is detained in the Souq al-Dajaj (Chicken market) Prison in Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê city.
- Barjas Hakim al-Nafel, born in Raqqa in 1982, was arrested on 25 August from Mabrouka village by members of the Sultan Murad Division on the charge of “dealing with the Autonomous Administration.”
- Imad al-Abed al-Ali was arrested on 29 August by members of the Malek Shah Division. The documentation team could not obtain additional details on his arrest.
- Khalil Halboushi was arrested in August from Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê city. The documentation team could not obtain additional details on his arrest.
- Hajij Melhem al-Rada, born in al-Mayadin city in 1998, was arrested in August from Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê city by members of the al-Hamza/al-Hamzat Division on the charge of “bringing explosive materials into the city.” Notably, the detainee is a construction worker.
- Ahmad Ali al-Sanad, born in Manbij city in 1990, was arrested in August from Mabrouka village by members of the Sultan Murad Division on the charge of “smuggling civilians” between areas held by the SNA and those controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In addition to these seven cases, Hevdesti is currently working on verifying another 15 arrests perpetrated by the Military Police in Ras al-Ayn/Serê Kaniyê city. The detainees were arrested for allegedly attempting to illegally cross into Turkey.