Less than 50 Kurds left in Sari Kani: Activist

Wednesday, 11 October, 2023 , 18:27


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - On the fourth anniversary of the Turkish occupation of Sari Kani (Ras al-Ain) in northeast Syria, there are now less than 50 Kurds left in the city which was home to around 80,000 Kurds less than two decades ago, according to an activist from the Kurdish city.

 Turkey launched the cross-border Peace Spring operation into northeast Syria in 2019 with the goal of pushing Kurdish forces back from the area and protecting the border. The operation saw the Turkish forces occupying Sari Kani with the support of its Syrian proxies.

Mahdi Daoud, an activist from Sari Kani, told Rudaw on Monday that the population of the city was estimated to be around 177,250 people based on a 2004 census, out of which nearly 80,000 were Kurds, however “ there are now only 45 to 50” Kurds left in the city.

“My own house is now inhabited by people from Idlib,” said the activist who now resides in the Kurdistan Region, adding that “thousands of Kurdish houses and shops have been occupied.” 

Daoud claimed that some of those that have been resettled in Sari Kani are Iraqi nationals suspected of being affiliated to the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The activist noted that many of the city’s original inhabitants currently residing in the Kurdistan Region and in northeast Syria (Rojava) have expressed their willingness to return to Sari Kani “if the chance arises,” in light of their present living conditions.

At least 59 civilians have been killed and 592 have been arrested at the hands of the Turkish forces and its Syrian proxies in Sari Kani and Gire Spi (Tal Abyad) since the start of Peace Spring four years ago, according to an October report from Synergy Association for Victims, which covers human rights violations in north and northeast Syria.

Synergy also reported an additional 146 civilians killed in 79 explosions that have occurred in Sari Kani and Gire Spi since October 2019. 

The Turkish occupation has displaced over 150,000 of Sari Kani and Gire Spi’s original inhabitants, according to Synergy, which added that at least 2815 families from other parts of Syria have been resettled in the two Kurdish cities, including 72 ISIS-linked families.