The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have continued to dig trenches and tunnels in the areas under its control in northeastern Syria for more than three years now, aiming to connect its military posts located along the demarcation lines with the areas held by the Turkish-backed opposition. The digging comes amid concerns over a military operation by the opposition.
The tunnel network stretches from al-Darbasiyah to al-Malikiyah (Derek). Work is conducted by civilians who receive a daily wage of $3 to $5 without medical insurance, as the SDF exploits the poverty and lack of job opportunities in the area. The workers are banned from carrying their mobile phones or wearing watches or any other device to which a tracking device could be connected.