Tell Abyad (Arabic: تل أبيض, lit. ‘White Hill’, Kurdish: Girê Spî, Turkish: Tellebyad, Armenian: Թել Աբյադ, Classical Syriac: ܬܠ ܐܒܝܕ) is a town in the Tel Abyad Canton of the Euphrates Region of the Autonomous Administrations of North and East Syria.
The town was divided when the borders were drawn along the borders of Syria and Turkey. Its northern part is currently Akçakale, a city which lies within Turkey’s borders.
The town was liberated by the Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) on 16 June, 2015.
On the morning of 9 October 2019, Turkish state military forces began to bombard cities of Rojava – and also began incursions across the border, particularly in the region around Girê Spî and Serê Kaniyê, which are now under full occupation by Turkish forces.
Turkey has faced accusations of ethnic cleansing and war crimes, including the use of banned chemical weapons. On top of this, and emboldened by it, ISIS regaining strength in the region and sleeper cell attacks have increased by 48% since the start of the invasion.
The Turkish military and their allied Jihadist militias are attacking civilians, as well as military positions, with aerial bombardment and tanks on the ground; destroying hospitals, houses, electricity and water supplies. The illegal invasion has so far killed over 300 civilians, and around 300,000 people have been displaced.
Shortly before the Turkish invasion of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad in October 2019, both cities and their surrounding areas were a fertile home for a high concentration of cooperatives. Such initiatives played a pioneering role in the cooperative economy of NES.
Turkey’s October 2019 invasion and ongoing occupation of 5000km2 in the Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad regions destroyed this developing alternative economy. Turkish-backed forces plundered and looted private and public properties, businesses and cooperatives (for more information, see RIC’s December 2019 report: Turkey’s war against civilians). Co-operative agricultural associations have also been plundered. The psychological impact must be considered alongside the material damage: the experience or threat of destruction makes any attempt at building up future projects seem in vain.
Yet cooperatives develop even among those who have fled the war. The cooperatives bureau attempt to spark the creation of new villages by giving arable land to inhabitants who are living in IDP camps.