INDICATORS OF SECURITY SECTOR
In The Turkish Dominated Areas Northern Aleppo
By the first week of Apr 2018, Turkish forces and opposition groups announced the end of operation olive branch that resulted into control over Afrin area, and now after more than two years with that operation it looks that this security situation in the Turkish dominated areas is still far from being stable. Analyzing the incidents and events that occurred during those two years provide us with multiple indicators regarding the overall security situation.
Security Sector Indicators
Through analyzing the data of the incident reports, the following indicators were observed in the mentioned areas, these indicators illustrate the main patterns and observations and provide the main trends in the security sector of these areas, based on the following factors
- History of Incidents
- Actors and Stakeholders (internal and External)
- Modality and Patterns of Incidents
- Areas of Activities
The First Indicator
The trend of the incidents reported in the areas dominated by Turkey is taking an increased level in number of the security incidents, despite the arrangements and enhancement conducted through the internal security and law enforcement forces, and the absence of an actual military operation with outside actors.
This Second Indicator
considering only the internal incidents that occurred by actors and stakeholders within the same controlled areas, we can see that armed clashes is still the highest type of events and incidents reported in the Turkish dominated areas, and considering that we are talking about only internal actors then this suggests the presence of significant disagreement and internal fighting among the different armed groups in this area although many of them where organized through a Turkish initiative under the Syrian National Army. It is also notable that during the last quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 there was notable increase in the number of these clashes in the same areas.
The Third Indicator
It is notable that both Syrian National Army and the National Police Forces that are supposed to take control over the military and the law enforcement sides in these areas, are still incapable to handle those duties. And as mentioned in the second indicator the direct clashes between the different armed groups in the area indicate the absence of clear judicial system or military law there, moreover analyzing the conducted search and arrest events in these areas illustrate a very slight contribution of the National Police Force which supposed to be responsible for such internal police and security operations compared with the Armed Groups contribution.
The Fourth Indicator
Assassinations and IEDs attacks are still remarkable types of the incidents reported in the area, which reflects the need of additional efforts to the capacity of the law enforcement forces on the personnel and the equipment levels, to be able to handle such incidents. It is notable that the majority of the victims of the IEDs attacks are the civilians which also indicate that many of them where prepared not to target a specific individuals but against public places where civilians are located to cause great harm and damage and to maintain a level of instability especially on the internal security side.
The Fifth Indicator
External actors are contributing only to less than 15% of the total incidents recorded in the mentioned areas (YPG 6.5% and GOS 5% and ISIS 2%) while the main actors are Opposition Rebels, TAF and Undefined Actors with around 20% - 25% for each of them
The Sixth Indicator
Although many of the assassinations, IEDs, Looting and Mob violence incidents were investigated and announced to be identified by local authorities and law enforcement forces, yet more than 30% of these incidents was reported against unknowns or against undefined actors, and this also represents a certain level of lack of capacity of the local law enforcement forces.
The Seventh Indicator
City centers that supposed to be the most stable due to the centralized and focused presence of law enforcement forces as well as the main stakeholders (TAF, Syrian National Army in addition to the civil authorities...) are the most exposed to the incidents, where Afrin came first followed with Al Bab and Azaz cities.
Types of Security Incidents
Security and military incidents vary in the northern regions under Turkish influence, and armed clashes are the highest at approximately 35%, while artillery and indirect fire comes in second place with an estimated rate of 25%, followed by IEDs by nearly 20%. While it is noticed the almost absence of aerial bombardment, which is largely limited to sporadic raids or raids carried out by drones. The chart below shows the distribution of these percentages.
Security Incidents Patterns
Although the different areas are almost under control of similar actors, but it is notable that there are different modalities of incidents between the different locations. Afrin city is the highest when it comes to the Armed Clashes and using light and medium armed weapons despite that there are no external actors there, but these incident in majority are reported among the different armed groups in the city. Moreover, Afrin city is the highest or among the top three cities when it comes to IED attacks and Abduction, and all of this beside the high percentage of the Looting and Mob Violence indicate a significant gaps in the overall internal security and stability. Besides Afrin, Al Bab city reported mainly a notable presence of the IED and Assassination attacks, while Azaz city recorded mainly Armed Clashes and IED attacks.
Incidents Changes by Date
As mentioned in the first indicator, majority of the locations either reported an increase in the number of the incidents through the last years, or in best scenarios maintained a stable average of the incidents records, the only exception might be Afrin city that reported a decrease close to 50% of the total incidents reported through the last years, this can be mainly explained by the presence of almost one actor that control the area on both the military and law enforcement levels, which is not the case in other locations like Azaz and Al Bab areas.
It is clear that a full revision and reformation of the internal security sector is required, and giving the sensitivity of the situation in the different areas, this required to be conducted based on the specifications and features of each of the areas, then to find a joint approach that allow a proper implementation of a unified (or semi-unified) internal security arrangement, and it is obvious that the Turkish authorities (political and military) holds the main rule in such arrangement, as the sustainability that the Turkish side looks for cannot be achieved without such approach among a wide range of other reformations.