Home Human Rights Journalism Syria: 38 Arrests in “Peace Spring” during the second half of 2020

Syria: 38 Arrests in “Peace Spring” during the second half of 2020


Only 1 individual was released, the fate of the other 37 remains unknown

by z.ujayli
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Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) confirmed that at least 38 arrests were carried out by the Opposition-Syrian National Army (SNA)  and groups affiliated with them in Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê and Tell Abiad – two areas occupied by Turkey during Operation Peace Spring. [1]  The arrests documented in this report took place between May and December 2020.

STJ confirmed the names of 38 individuals who were arrested, among them four women. While one detainee was freed, the fate of the other 37 remains unknown. The organization was unable to gather more evidence about other arrests which occurred in the two areas. STJ previously published a report in collaboration with the Kurdish Committee for Human Rights (Rased/Observer) about the transfer of more than 90 detainees from Syria to Turkey during the first half of 2020. [2]

According to the evidence gathered by STJ from the residents of the two areas, local activists, and sources in the SNA, seven groups affiliated with the SNA were responsible for carrying out the arrests. They are:

  1. Liwa Sultan Malik Shah/ Sultan Malik Shah Brigade
  2. The Military Police
  3. The al-Hamza/al-Hamzat Division
  4. Liwa Sultan Murad/Sultan Murad Brigade
  5. Al-Jabha al-Shamiya/Levant Front
  6. Civil Police
  7. Turkish Intelligence

The following individuals were arrested:

  1. ‘Abd al-Rahim Khader Mahmoud was arrested in May from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê by members of the Military Police on the charge of serving with  Asayish during the Autonomous Administration’s control of the region.
  2. Fu’ad ( surname unknown), a former member of the Syrian Army, was arrested in May on the charge of “intelligence on behalf of Kurdish units and involvement in bombings in the region.”
  3. Mahmoud  Muhammad al-Sheikho was arrested on 25 May by the Military Police on charges related to his former work as a traffic policeman with the Autonomous Administration.
  4. Majdi Muhammad al-Sultan was arrested on 1 June by the Military Police, charged with his former work with the Autonomous Administration as a local policeman.
  5. Basil Kanou ‘Idan was arrested in June by the Military Police for his former work as an employee in the customs department of the Autonomous Administration.
  6. Karim Al-‘Ajaji was arrested in June by the Military Police on the charge of previously dealing with the Autonomous Administration. No further details about the charge were provided.
  7. A young man from the ‘Ajaji family – Karim’s brother – was arrested in June by the Military Police on the charge of his former work with the Autonomous Administration.
  8. Ahmed Hassan al-Abdullah was arrested in June by Turkish Intelligence on unknown charges. Local sources suspect he was arrested for dealing with the People’s Protection Unit (YPG).
  9. Anas Muhammad Basala was arrested in August from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê by the Military Police on the charge of his former work with the Autonomous Administration.
  10. Muhammad Shahada was arrested in August from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê by the Military Police on the charge of his former work with the Autonomous Administration.
  11. Rawya al-Fashtaki was arrested in August from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê by the Military Police on the charge of “theft.”
  12. Mustafa Ahmad al-Muhaimid was arrested by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah in early September, a few days after his return from Lebanon. He was arrested in the village of Tal Dhiab then moved to a Military Police prison without knowing what he was being charged with.
  13. Ahmad So’ud Othman was arrested on 22 September while trying to cross the border into Turkey. He was moved into a prison controlled by the Civil Police, accused of “conscription to an enemy party.”
  14. Sulaiman Shabo was arrested on 22 September from Qatouf village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of involvement in bombings in the region. A source reported that he was tortured while in custody, resulting in the amputation of part of his lower leg.
  15. Muhammad Khalaf al-Musa (64) was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of “poor educating”. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison.
  16. Alaa al-Din Muhammad Al-Musa was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of involvement in bombings in the region. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison. It is worth mentioning that the detainee had recently returned to the region from Lebanon on 17 July 2020.
  17. ‘Abd al-Aziz Muhammad al-Musa was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf Village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of involvement in bombings in the region. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison.
  18. Ali al-Shabo was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of “poor educating”. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison and was later released.
  19. Ahmad Habish al-Hasin was arrested on 24 September from Manajid Village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of his involvement in bombings in the area. He remains detained in one of the faction’s headquarters.
  20. Abd al-Qadr al-Musa was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf Village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of his involvement in bombings in the area. He was transferred from the prison to a Military Police prison. A source reports that he was injured prior to his arrest.
  21. Mujahid Ali Shabo was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf Village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of his involvement in bombings in the area. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison.
  22. Abd al-Rahman al-Musa was arrested on 24 September from Qatouf Village by the “Abu Miqdad” group affiliated with Liwa Sultan Malik Shah on the charge of his involvement in bombings in the area. He was transferred from the judiciary to a Military Police prison.
  23. Sulaiman Muhammad was arrested on 9 November from Mabrouka Village on the charge of his previous involvement with the Autonomous Administration.
  24. Razouk Nazilan was arrested on 9 November from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê on the charge of his previous involvement with the Autonomous Administration.
  25. Muhammad Ahmad Khadr, born 1995, was arrested on 28 November from Halwa Village, close to Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê, by members of the Liwa Sultan Murad/ Sultan Murad Brigade for unknown reasons.
  26. Isa Ibrahim was arrested on 30 November from al-Qaysariya Village in the Tell Abiad area for the possession of a weapon.
  27. Shu’ak Muhammad al-Ibrahim was arrested on 30 November from al-Qaysariya Village in the area of Tell Abiad for the possession of a weapon.
  28. Khalid Isa al-Ibrahim was arrested on 30 November from al-Qaysariya Village in the area of Tell Abiad for the possession of a weapon.
  29. Khalil Isa al-Ibrahim was arrested on 30 November from al-Qaysariya Village in the area of Tell Abiad for the possession of a weapon.
  30. Muhammad al-Jawhar was arrested on 9 December from the area of Tell Abiad during his attempt to illegally cross the Turkish border.
  31. Ali Ahmad al-‘Abi was arrested on 10 December from Ali Bajliyah Village in the area of Tell Abiad. His fate remains unknown.
  32. Ahmad al-‘Abid was arrested on 10 December from Ali Bajliyah Village in the area of Tell Abiad. His fate remains unknown.
  33. Ahmad Muhammad Azo was arrested on 10 December from Halwa Village close to Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê. His fate remains unknown.
  34. Aya ‘Abd al-Aziz was arrested on 10 December from the area of Tell Abiad during her attempt to “illegally” cross into Turkey.
  35. Ahmad Muhammad al-Ahmad was arrested on 11 December from Halwa Village close to Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê. He was arrested on the accusation that his son was affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and had recently left the area headed towards al-Hasakah.
  36. Sana ‘Abd al-Aziz was arrested on 11 December from the area of Tell Abiad during her attempt to cross the border “illegally”.
  37. Yahya Ibrahim Izza was arrested on 30 December from the city of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê. He served under the al-Hamza/al-Hamzat Division and was arrested by his unit. He was killed in detention and his wife was arrested in connection to his case.
  38. Aya Hasan al-Musa, Yahya Ibrahim Isa’s wife, was arrested by the Military Police in connection with the murder of her husband at the hands of the al-Hamza/al-Hamzat Division.

Who is the Liwa Sultan Malik Shah (Sultan Malik Shah Brigade)?

According to an official statement from SNA Command, the brigade was established on 9 August 2020 at the behest of the Minister of Defense of the Syrian Interim Government. It was named “the 27th Unit” (Liwa Sultan Malik Shah) and is considered among the ranks of the Second Corps within the SNA.

The brigade is active in the area of Ras al-Ayen/Serê Kaniyê. On 30 September 2020, the brigade’s leadership dismissed the entire “Brigade of Glory”  from among its ranks and posted on its social media that it had arrested people purportedly responsible for bombings in the area.

A copy of the decision to form Liwa Sultan Malik Shah Tümeni, “the 27th Division” of the opposition-affiliated Syrian National Army


[1] In its latest report on transferring Syrian detainees from Syria to Turkey, Human Rights Watch repeatedly described Turkish forces in Syria as occupation forces. More: “Illegal Transfer of Syrians to Turkey: Over 60 Detained, Forcibly Moved from Occupied Territories”. 3 February 2021 (Last Visited: 10 February 2021).https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/03/illegal-transfers-syrians-turkey

[2] “Illegal transfer of Dozens of Syrian detainees into Turkey following Operation Peace Spring.” Syrians for Truth and Justice, 10 July 2020 (last accessed 10 February 2021). https://stj-sy.org/en/illegal-transfer-of-dozens-of-syrian-detainees-into-turkey-following-operation-peace-spring/

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