DARBASIYAH, SYRIA - Cities and towns along the border in northeastern Syria evacuated in the final hours of their cease-fire with Turkey on Tuesday.
In the nearly-abandoned border city of Darbasiyah, some of the few locals remaining were nervous and angry, saying they hoped the army of President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, comes to town before Turkey starts bombing.
“No agreement was reached and people are afraid,” said Mohammed, a 39-year-old father of three. While most shops were closed, he was keeping his vegetable shop open, saying the people remaining need to eat. “We are afraid that what happened in Ras al Ayn will happen here.”
After a week of airstrikes and gunfire, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces pulled out of Ras al-Ayn on Sunday, leaving the city controlled by Turkish-backed fighters. In Darbasiayah, families packed the blankets and appliances on trucks, and some of the remaining shopkeepers wrapped up their goods.
“This is our gift for defeating Islamic State militants?” said Adnan Mala Ali, a pharmacist with three small children, as he packed his medicines in a pickup truck. The Kurdish-led SDF was the U.S.’s strongest ally fighting Islamic State militants, and 11,000 fighters died in the battles.
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