During two years of Afrin occupation, the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries have not ceased their violations against human beings from looting, to the processes of the demographic change to the bombings and massacres against children of Afrin and Al-Shhaba canton.
The Turkish occupation army launched a military operation against Afrin with its mercenaries from the remnants of terrorist and jihadist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. They attacked Afrin on January 20, 2018, using all kinds of sophisticated and internationally prohibited (chemical) weapons, as well as aerial bombardments. They attacked brutally and killed hundreds of civilians, committed dozens of horrific massacres and thousands of wounded and injured, mostly women and children. They displaced more than 250,000 people, not to mention the destruction of the canton’s infrastructure.
The Turkish attacks began with a Russian green light and under international silence.
During its offensive against Afrin, the Turkish occupation targeted densely populated areas, destroyed key facilities and archaeological sites to obliterate the history of all components in the region, as well as educational schools and religious sites such as shrines and mosques.
The occupation has not ceased its violations, 563 casualties in two years. 498 victims have been the result of the barbaric Turkish attack on the occupied Afrin within 58 days of the attack and 690 injured with disabilities.
Following Afrin occupation, the Turkish occupation continued its violations according to a report by the Human Rights Organization in Afrin, Syria. More than 563 civilians were lost in two years as a result of the Turkish shelling of the occupied Afrin and the villages of Al-Shahba canton, which are crowded with civilians, including 55 people who lost their lives under torture by the Turkish occupation and mercenaries.
Abducting more than 6,398 civilians. The fate of 3,400 are still unknown
After the occupation of Afrin by the Turkish army and mercenary factions, the Turkish occupation began the process of kidnapping civilians under flimsy pretexts in order to demand ransom from their relatives. The number of the abductees reached more than 6,398 civilians in two years. The fate of ,400 are still unknown, and more than 690 people, including 303 children, were injured.
The occupation also massacred the displaced in Al-Shahba district and villages in Shirawa district. They committed a massacre against the children of Afrin on 2 December 2019, killing 10 civilians, 8 of them were children. They also committed a massacre in the village of Aqiba in Shirawa district, an entire family of three was killed on 25 February this year
In the series of the violations even against the nature, the occupation has distorted Afrin nature and turned it into barren lands. They cut more than 225 thousand olive trees and more than 300,000 trees are perennial to trade their wood in the occupied areas or exported them to Turkey. They also cut more than 10,000 oak trees and more than 11,000 hectares of agricultural land were burned in Afrin.
“The mercenary factions under the support of the Turkish occupation have been committing war crimes such as killing, torturing and abducting for ransom since the Turkish occupation army launched their attack on Afrin and occupied it on March 18, 2018.”
Sheikho said the Turkish attack on Afrin caused the forced displacement of more than 300,000 civilians to Al-Shahba canton, Aleppo city and areas of the northeastern of Syria.
Sheikho pointed out that among the violations of the Turkish occupation is the policy of demographic change to separate Afrin from the rest of Syria by building the separation wall in Shirawa district.
Sheikho explained that there are secret detention facilities in Afrin where various forms of torture are carried out against civilians, women and men by the Turkish occupation army and mercenary groups.
“The violations came amid the inaction of the international organizations over the violations in Afrin ” Sheikho said.
“Afrin displaced have been suffering from difficult conditions for two years at the camps and semi-destroyed houses in Al-Shahba canton. The international organizations must find a solution for them,” Sheikho said.
Violations against women are being perpetrated by the Turkish occupation particularly in Afrin where women have had the greatest share of violence. They experienced the physical, psychological and moral violence as a means of humiliating opponents, destroying entire communities and changing demographics. They forced women to wear the veil – niqab, that is limiting the personal freedom.
After the Turkish occupation of Afrin, women were denied all their rights. Direct violence of murder, rape, trafficking in women, disability and abduction was used; 1.200 women were being abused. Nearly 40 women were killed, 1.000 women were kidnapped, 100 women were raped and 60 women were sexually abused. Suicides in Afrin have reached more than 5 cases, according to a report by the Human Rights Organization in Afrin. These statistics represent only 30% of the real number on the ground.
The Turkish crimes against the ruins
The Directorate of the Antiquities in Afrin documented with the video recordings and photographs the archaeological sites and hills that were looted and destroyed by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries. The Turkish occupation destroyed 60% of the antiquities in Tel Ain Dara archaeological site as a result of the barbaric bombing on 21 January 2018. Hamzat mercenaries looted sculptures of the temple. The great Basel lion sculpture was lost. The National Liberation Front mercenaries transformed the hill site into a military site.
In the case of the archaeological site of Nabi Hori, the mercenaries of Soqur Al Shimal Brigade dug up with heavy machinery; as the result rare mosaics appeared and the fate of those paintings was unknown.
After the mercenaries ransacked the Khirabe Guli site in the village of Alabeski in Rajo district, the mercenaries smuggled the antiquities.
The mercenaries of the al-Ammash destroyed Khirabe Raza site in the village of Termesha in Shia district and looted the mosaics hich were discovered in 2017.
The mercenaries of Hamzat and Sultan Murad dug up a ruin in the village of Brad in Shirawa district. They destroyed St. Maroun church and looted its monuments.
The mercenaries of Hamzat and Ahrar al-Sharqia looted Jandrissa Hill and turned it into a military base.
The mercenaries dug up the ruins and looted the antiquities in Tal Haloubia in Shera district, Dodre hill in Medanki district, Al-Jagia hill in Deir Ballot village in Jandrissa district, Burj Abdullah hill in Shirawa district, Sandianka hill in Jandarissa district, Abudan hill in Bilbila district, Bel Al Sareeqa hill in Kafr Roum village in Shera district. Shorba hill in Shera and Laq hill in Shera district.
Religious shrines have been attacked, bombed and vandalized by mercenaries. Among the shrines : ( Hanan shrine in Shara district, Barsa Khatun, Sheikh Hameed, Qarah Jorneh and Jal Khaneh in the village of Qastal Jindo in Shera district, Sheikh Ziad in Afrin city, Sheikh Junaid and Sheikh Mohammed in Jandrissa district, Sheikh Muss shrine in Rajo district, Ali Dada in Shia district, Sheikh Ziad in Afrin).
“Since the beginning of the Turkish occupation attacks, they have targeted archaeological sites and the first bombing was the old Temple of A’andara, which dates back to hundreds of years ,” Asmahan Ahmed, the administrator of the Antiquities and Museums Authority said. The committee documented everything that had been exposed to the archaeological sites since the first day of the Turkish attack and sent it to Antiquities Protection Organization but it did not do anything towards that.”
The demographic change in Afrin, settlement of Turkmen families along the border.
The Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries settled nearly 400 thousand people from the Syrian areas such as Ghouta, Hama and Idlib through Putin- Erdogan deals, according to The Human Rights Organization in Afrin that reported that the occupation intensified settlement operations after the start of Idlib battle.
It focused on the settlement of these people along the border line in occupied Afrin from the area of Shara to Balbala. The settlers were lured with money and relief baskets in order to ensure that they remained in those villages to continue the Turkish colonial project of the region.
The Turkish occupation built a concrete wall along the border line in Al Balata and Rajo districts to separate those two areas from the Syrian territory and annex them to Turkish territory with a depth of 400 meters.
More recently, as Syrian government forces launched their campaign against Idlib, the Turkish occupation settled tens of thousands from Idlib in the occupied Afrin, as part of the policy of the demographics change in Afrin and separating it from Syria.
The Turkish occupation changed the names of the streets and villages, including the village of Qastal Muqdad to “Seljuq Obasi”, the village of Kotinli to “Zafer Obasi”, and the village of Kirzili to “Jafar Obasi”. The Turkish occupation changed the names of some squares as well, turning the national square in the center of Afrin to Erdogan Square, raising Turkish flags and photographs of Erdogan.
The Turkish occupation forces the people to learn Turkish to erase their native language
With the Turkish attack and mercenaries attacks on Afrin, the Turkish occupation has targeted and completely destroyed schools and educational centers.
Prior to the Turkish occupation of Afrin, the city had 318 primary, preparatory and secondary schools in addition to Afrin University and Vian Amara Institute. With the start of the attacks, 60% of the schools were destroyed with the aim of erasing the mother tongue.
The occupation also converted educational schools into military headquarters and detention facilities to torture civilians.
The Turkish occupation opened schools to force civilians in occupied Afrin to learn Turkish and to impose Turkish as a basic curriculum in schools.
The Turkish occupation changed the names of villages, towns and streets and forced civilians to deal in Turkish currency in order to crush the identity, culture and history of the region within the framework of the policies of the demographic change. The Turkish intelligence transformed Azhar school and Karama schools in the center of Afrin has been transformed into places of detention and torturing the civilians.
Many schools that could not be identified have also been turned into places to torture civilians.
Despite the circumstances of the displacement ,people of Afrin in the villages of Al- Shahba and Shirawa district, continue to be a target .
The Turkish occupation carried out a massacre against Afrin children in Tel Rifaat area, in which 10 civilians, eight children were killed. Another child was killed and others injured in another shelling.
The Turkish occupation aims to restore the ambitions of its Ottoman ancestors, work on the policy of demographic change to separate its areas of occupation from Syrian territory and to obliterate the history of all components in the region.
“The Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries targeted educational centers in Afrin and turned schools into military headquarters and places to torture the people of Afrin,” The Administrator in the Committee of the Democratic Society Movement ,Gulstan Abdo, told Hawar.
“The Turkish occupation forces civilians to learn in Turkish and impose Turkish curricula as basic curricula in schools, in addition to raising the Turkish flag and Erdogan’s image on educational schools,” Gulestan said.
She stressed that “the resistance will continue despite the difficulties they are experiencing in Al Shahba canton, the siege imposed by the Turkish occupation army, the Syrian regime and the conditions of forced displacement, and that despite the poor conditions and possibilities, they have opened schools to teach children in Al Shahba.”