After the outbreak of the Turkish offensive, villagers in the border areas of northeastern Syria are trying to find refuge in the hinterland.
Friday, October 11, in northern Syria, fear had a face. That of a young man with crazy eyes sitting in the back of a van. Kalashnikov between his legs, he squeezes, clenched, a thin cigarette between his thumb and forefinger. Death may be waiting for him, at the end of the road, he or one of his seven Kurdish companions there, to Ras al-Ain where the Turkish army is bombing and where his Islamist deputies infiltrate. But for a few minutes, the vehicle driven by its leader, Comrade Agid, is parked at the exit of Tel Tamer, 30 kilometers from the current battle. This is where the last shop before the war, where you can get big cans of energy drink.
The sliding door of the vehicle is open to a chaos of machine guns, rocket launchers and packets of cakes. "The war is not the same, says comrade Agid, staying behind the wheel. More uniforms, more military vehicles. " The time of the victorious battles against the Islamic State (IS) organization, under the American canopy, is far away. It is to the enemy that military superiority now belongs. We must adapt, mingle with civilians, to resist, to avoid being targeted.
But do the opponents of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) make the difference? The civilian van and its young fighters are spinning to the front. From the opposite direction, it is a continuous flow of small vans loaded with platforms to the edge of mattresses, blankets, gas cylinders, cans of oils, which comes to find refuge to Tel Tamer, fleeing the fighting, air strikes, artillery shelling or the reputation of soldiers of militia in the pay of Ankara, a reputation that precedes them by far. "Those who come to kill, to loot, they are mobsters, not fighters," Hussein Hasso said, sweaty, in the back of his overloaded vehicle trying to calm his dog, "Brown," a kind of panicked labrador who balances, lingering tongue, panic looks. The displaced are mostly Arab families in the region, under the control of predominantly Kurdish forces.
"Why are humanitarian organizations leaving the area? They come for dollars or what? We need them now
At the exit of Tel Tamer are crossed those who go to the front and those who flee, under a leaden sky, in an atmosphere of dust, gasoline, rumors of massacres and anguish. This is the place where we can try to beg for news of loved ones behind. Abdluhamid Mohamed, wearing a blue and white shirt, has had no news since the morning of his 72-year-old father, who did not want to flee Ras Al-Ain despite the Turkish attack. The telephone network has been cut. "Why are humanitarian organizations leaving the area? They come for dollars or what? We need them now, " Mohamed Abdelkader, a Kurdish resident of Tel Tamer, who is also home to an Arab community and an Assyrian Christian community, is outraged by him. "There is no longer a coalition, they are liars. They could end this war in an hour if they wanted to. Otherwise, it will be Rwanda! " Another Kurdish inhabitant of Ras al-Ain shouts after him: "That Trump is bombarding us directly with chemical weapons and we're going to finish! " The word "betrayal" is on everyone's lips.