Two to three civilians were reportedly shot dead Turkish-backed forces in Raqqa governorate, according to multiple sources.
The combat status of two of the victims is unclear. @ahraralsharqia claimed that Turkish-backed forces captured “elements of PYD_YPG_PKK gangs”. However, @TurkeyUntold said that “two civilians and one fighter” were killed.
@TurkeyUntold published avideo, statting: “The Turkish led group that cut the M4 this morning [Oct 12th] in NE #Syria, was Ahrar al-Sharqiyah, battalion 123. Their media guy here admits it. Clear they pull over civilians cars. Video ends after a gun shot sound.”
The New York Times published extensive information on the incident. It refers to the victims as “Kurdish captives”, adding this was a “a possible war crime”. The report says: “Turkish-backed Syrian Arab fighters killed at least two Kurdish prisoners on Saturday, one of them lying on the ground with his hands bound behind his back, in a powerful illustration of the forces unleashed by President Trump’s decision to pull back American troops shielding former Kurdish allies in northern Syria.
A video that captured one of the killings shows two of the Turkish-backed group’s fighters firing bullets at close range into the man with his hands tied while their colleagues shout ‘God is great!’ The second prisoner who was killed appears in the video alive and wearing a military uniform, but he is missing from the group’s later social media post about its captives.
‘The guy in the military outfit was neutralized,’ said Al Harith Rabah, a media activist with the Arab fighters who was at the scene.
The New York Times wrote: “The killing of two Kurdish captives by Arab fighters — a possible war crime — is an indication of the ethnically tinged hatreds flaring in the wake of President Trump’s pullback of American forces in the area. The move cleared the way for a Turkish military incursion into a northern Syria border area aimed at rooting out the Kurdish-led militia that had been the key American-allied ground force helping to wrest territory from the Islamic State.”
Amnesty International reported that “Ahrar al-Sharqiya fighters (…) captured and then killed at least two Kurdish fighters. They also abducted two civilian men, both of whom work with a local medical organization and were transporting medicine at the time they were captured. Family members confirmed to Amnesty International that their whereabouts remained unknown. Amnesty International verified the time and date of the videos showing that the summary killings and abduction of the two civilians carried out on the afternoon on 12 October.”
The incident occured in the afternoon.
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Geolocation notes (4) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the Tirwaziya (تروازية) checkpoint, located on the M4 highway between Raqqa (الرقة) and Hassakah (الحسكة). Extensive research by Newsy & Bellingcat, and the BBC, show this location to be at these coordinates are: 36.460242, 39.593628. This is further confirmed by @GregoryPWaters.