Syrian National Coalition representative Qasim al-Khatib arrived at the Turkish-Syrian border near the city of Tal Abyad to dispel reports of forced displacement and ethnic cleansing in the areas. Speaking to Watan FM, Khatib said he addressed an email to the coalition stating:
"I am currently in the area of Tal Abyad. My observations about what is happening on the ground confirm the following facts:
- It appears that the city was abandoned without any major conflict, and coalition forces did not shell the city of Tal Abyad, instead focusing on its outskirts in Sulouk and other regions.
- The dominant powers in the city are the forces of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, Raqqa Rebels Brigade led by Abu Issa and at-Tahrir Brigade, led by Abu Mohammed Kafr Zeta.
- Those who crossed the border are from different regions, and the displaced persons are not only residents of Tal Abyad, but are also from Palmyra, Idleb, Deir-ez-Zor.
- The forces on the ground are appealing to people to stop fleeing the city.
- Turkish authorities opened the border crossing on Wednesday for those who wished to return to the city. More than 600 Syrian citizens returned to their homes".
“I call on the National Coalition and its staff to visit the area in order to obtain all the facts, as there are parties who deliberately mislead for clear agendas”, Khatib said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer