East of the Euphrates.. civil resistance against the Turkish incursion, then changing the priorities

Baz Bakkari

The Turkish military operation against the cities of Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain) and Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) and their countryside was not merely a random bombardment of the war machine led by the Turkish army and the Syrian radical Islamic factions, rather the repercussions of the disaster affected the lives of civilians throughout the areas of the self-administration of NE Syria.

As a result which had been planned for it before the bombing, forced displacement started. Turkish planes and carried not only bombs and death with them, but changing the way of life of civilians throughout the whole region, and creating the instability and anxiety among the residents, at that time all the options were bad.

The beginning of the plan was to target the Kurdish cities along the Turkish border with Syria, from Kobanî in the west, to Dêrik in the far east, which caused the killing of civilians, whether as a result of direct targeting of the artillery or through Islamic radical sleeper cells that targeted those cities, particularly the city of Qamishlo, which had been targeted too, but Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Ain) ane Girê Spî (Tal Abyad) paid the biggest tax. In addition to thay, the large displacement movement reached the number about 300 thousand IDPs, one third of them are children.

One of the options was the road to the south, where the city of Hasaka because the villages are far from the Turkish border, while nobody knows if the military operation would stop at a certain extent or would expand to cover the whole region, especially since the statements of Turkish officials which indicate an intention to occupy the entire Kurdish geography east of the Euphrates, a threat that reminded of Afrin tragedy, the city which had been violated by Turkish-led Islamic radical facrions.

The second option was to stay and live under the mercy of anxiety, or to go under the third option, which is to flee to Kurdistan region of Iraq seeking for asylum there and living in big camps.

By following the movement of the people, it appears that the majority of them preferred to stay despite the difficult choice, but this can be explained through two points:

The first: that the other options were not better than this option and that the people of the region realized that the main goal of the Turkish aggression was not to control the city, rather to empty them of its indigenous population, we could call this behavior of the people the civil resistance to the aggression, then whoever left his city, left it in the a moment after losing hope and realization that staying under the Turkish occupation and the Islamic radical Syrian factions, means that they remain vulnerable to murder, kidnapping and abuse.

The second reason is the global reactions to the Turkish attack on the region, which was characterized by rejection, whether at the official or popular level, and this gave civilians hope that there are reasons that may lead to restraining the Turkish state.

Whatever the options for the people of the Kurdish regions, the military operation in the end caused the achievement of its sole goal, which is to empty the area of ​​the Kurds, in preparation for the beginning of the implementation of the second part of the plan, which is the settlement of Syrian refugees from the people of Ghouta, Idlib and other areas.

Whoever follows the movement of life in the region is aware that despite the difficult living situation in all of Syria, the people under the self-administration areas have lived in a kind of relative stability compared to the rest of the regions, and began to show features of what can be called reconstruction, whether at the economic level or at the societal level.

The rebuilding movement has recovered more than before, especially after the announcement of the elimination of ISIS, as well as economic projects began to appear and develop, relying in some of them on the owners from the people of the region, or those living abroad, in addition to the return of many of the people of the region who found in the security stability an opportunity to return, and start making small projects and live among his family.

On the societal level, the asylum movement has subsided, whether to the neighboring countries in Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey or the European Union countries, but there is a reverse movement from abroad to inside, especially those who lived in Turkey or the Kurdistan region of Iraq. But the Turkish attack, even if it did not cause large waves of asylum outside the region, but the arrival of about 15,000 refugees seems very little compared to the danger faced by the people, which is the reason that prompted many of those abroad, to change its priorities, who was thinking of returning to settle in his city, now he is thinking of moving his family to outside the country, and who was refusing to leave his city, is thinking about securing a safe life for his family.

In the end, the military operation changed the priorities of the people of the region, and destroyed – just as the infrastructure in Serê Kaniyê Girê Spî – also the dreams of many young people who planned a more stable life in their cities and villages.