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Several incidents between Turkish and Syrian nationals have been reported over the past few weeks, especially in the southern region, reflecting the local social tensions.
Analysis of GEOS:
A shootout between Turkish residents and Syrian refugees was reported in the Yuregir district in the province of Adana (south) on 02/27, resulting in 4 injured. The police then proceeded to the strengthening of the security measures in the area to avoid further violence. Moreover, 2 Turkish residents were hardly wounded with a knife on the evening of 02/18 in the Aydinlikevler district in the province of Konya (south) during a brawl with Syrian nationals. Furthermore, a group of 7 unidentified persons assaulted and injured with a knife a Syrian national on the evening of 02/26 in Konya (Province of Konya, south). Finally, 3 Syrians were arrested in Kayseri (Province of Kayseri, centre), after they killed a Turkish resident and wounded another following a disagreement on the access of a public place on 02/14. This event led to high local tensions, including the gathering of a hundred of residents who perpetrated lynching targeting Syrian people and ransacked several stores belonging to them.
The hosting of about 3 millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, who fled the fighting since 2011, has contributed to the reinforcement of the social tensions especially in the southern and south-eastern regions of the country. The very fragile humanitarian situation and the pre-existing local economic difficulties have favoured the dissatisfaction of the population and the sectarian tensions. Moreover, the agreement signed in 2016 with the European Union, which led to a greater takeover by Turkey of a part of the Syrian refugees in exchange of a financial compensation, remains hardly implement on the local scale by the Turkish authorities.
Therefore, the risk of collateral damage in the vicinity of sectarian violence should be taken into account, especially in the south of the country where it is recommended to stay prudent. Furthermore, the security situation remains degraded in the south-eastern provinces of Turkey and any unessential travel is strongly discouraged in this part of the country. If necessary, an adapted security escort is recommended. Moreover, it is advised on a general level to avoid any organised or spontaneous rallies and to comply with the injunctions of the security forces. Finally, it is necessary to stay politically neutral and discrete, especially in public places, in order not to arouse the hostility of the local population and its interlocutors.
The Cabinda State Liberation Front - Armed Forces of Cabinda (FLEC-FAC) claimed responsibility for several attacks targeting the Angolan army over the past few days, illustrating the high level of insecurity that prevails in this northwestern province landlocked between the two Congos.
The FLEC-FAC announced on February 15th that 9 members of the security forces were killed and several others injured following clashes in the localities of Bembica and Seva Tando-Macuco on February 14th, which also resulted in the dead of 2 of his fighters. Furthermore, the separatist movement forbidden the Angolan political parties from campaigning in the province as part of the general elections scheduled for next August, whose boycott it promotes.
This announcement came a day after a similar statement, in which the FLEC-FAC claimed responsibility for the deaths of 18 government soldiers between February 3rd and 10th. On February 7th, the group also instructed all foreign economic actors from the timber industry operating in the Buco Zau, Miconje, Massabi and Belize regions to leave Cabinda without delay. It also prohibited all motorized travel through the Maiombe forest and specified that any vehicle escorted by the security forces would from now be regarded as a legitimate military target.
Generally, this oil-producing province remains affected by latent instability due to the independentism claims of the FLEC-FAC, resulting in sporadic armed attacks which mainly target the security forces. According to separatist sources, at least fifty Angolan soldiers died during such clashes in 2016, an estimate that was categorically rejected by the authorities who on several occasions described the enclave’s security situation as "normal".
Thus, although the number of clashes between the FLEC-FAC and the security forces significantly decreased since the signing of a peace agreement with one of the FLEC branches in 2006, a concrete risk of attacks targeting foreign interests or local oil-related infrastructures remains. As such, several kidnappings of foreign nationals have been reported since the early 2000s.
In this context, it is strongly advised to avoid any travel to the Cabinda Province, notably in the Buco Zau, Miconje, Massabi and Belize regions due to the ongoing threats on foreign economic operators and convoys circulating in the area. In case of activity in the enclave, it is advisable to approach your consular services and security provider in order to adapt to new security developments.