The villages looted, civilians kidnapped in Afrin, Northeastern Syria

Civilians who have been forcibly displaced in northeastern Syria as a consequence of the attacks by Turkish-backed mercenaries spoke to ANHA News Agency. They reported that the mercenaries had pillaged their villages and were refusing to let them re-enter them. Two villagers of Afrin , were kidnapped by Turkish-backed forces.

The demography of the occupied regions in northern and eastern Syria has changed drastically ever since Turkish forces accompanied by allied mercenaries seized control of these areas. Education in the Turkish language has been imposed in the schools of the occupied villages even as several villagers have been forcibly displaced.

Silêman Biro Salih had to flee from his village Dawûdiyê, in Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) in northeastern Syria, as a result of the occupation. “The Turkish state and their mercenaries came into our village with tanks, taking over our homes. They pillaged everything we had in our homes. They have turned our village into a military base. The name of our village was changed to Yahudiye (a reference to the word ‘Jewish’ in Turkish). They did not even allow the funeral of an elderly villager to take place: they did not allow him to be buried in the village”, he noted.

İbrahim Salim also was forcibly displaced from his village Erîşa due to the attacks of the Turkish state. “When I wanted to return”, he reported, “the mercenaries did not let me enter my own village. It isn’t just me: none of the villagers were allowed to return. All we had was pillaged”.

“The people here have been forced to migrate. The international community follows what is happening around here but is silent. The United Nations (UN) listed only a few of the crimes that have been committed here by the Turkish state. They continue to kidnap and kill people in the occupied regions. Everybody should act against the crimes that have been – and are being – committed here by the Turkish state”, Salim said. He appealed to the international community to raise its voice against the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing Syria.

Civilians kidnapped in Afrin

An another example of human rights violations in Afrin (Efrîn‎), northern Syria, Turkish-backed mercenaries kidnapped two civilians in the village of Anqelê in the Şiyê district, reports Hawar News.

According to local sources, two villagers, Ekrem Nebo (41) and Zeîm Mihemed (40), were kidnapped by Turkish-backed forces. The fate of the abducted villagers is still unknown.

It has been reported that Turkish-backed Semerkand gangs are kidnapping civilians for ransom. Two of the many abducted civilians were Xelîl Henan Xilo and Hisên Silêman Mewas. Their families have been asked for a ransom of 800,000 Syrian lira.

Raids by mercenaries are also rife in the area. A group that belongs to the Hamza Division raided the village of Firêriyê in the Cindirês district of Afrin‎. The group attempted to steal the olive harvest of the villagers, but when the villagers resisted the gang aimed their weapons at them, according to local sources.

Refugees from Afrin‎ want to return to their homeland

Meanwhile, refugees from Afrin‎ protested the murder of two civilians by Turkish-backed forces. The Fırket Al-Hamza Gangs opened fire on three civilians in the village of Kîmarê in the Shêrawa district of Afrin‎. Fourteen-year-old Hemo Cengiz Necar and 70-year-old Abdurehman Hemo, lost their lives, while Masoud Massoud Hemo (30) was wounded in the foot. Hemo Cengiz Necar’s autopsy report revealed that he was shot 40 times.

Refugees from Afrin‎ reacted to the silence of the international community regarding the killings in Afrin‎. Abidin Hemo from Afrin‎ said that they have been staying in camps in quite harsh conditions for three years. “We have been waiting in these camps to go back to our homes. The international public has been an accomplice to the crimes committed by the Turkish state in Afrin‎. What kind of humanity is this? They fired 40 bullets into the body of a 14-year-old boy”.

Another refugee from Afrin, Esûm Ismail, said that the Turkish state continues to commit crimes in Afrin‎. “We migrated from Afrin‎ due to the massacres committed by the Turkish state. People who want to protect their property and continue to live in Afrin‎ are continuously being murdered. They slaughtered a 70-year-old man. Even the graves of the martyrs could not escape their brutality”, said Ismail.

“We as the people of Afrin who had to leave our homelands will take back our homes”, said Ristem Ebdo, who was defiant in insisting to the public that no one will be able to destroy the Kurdish culture and language. “The people of Afrin‎ continue to resist the Turkish state and its gangs. The Turkish state is trying to destroy our culture and language by attacking us. We will not allow the Kurdish people to be subjected to this destruction and be destroyed. Our resistance will continue until we return to Afrin”.

Background information

In 2018 Turkey launched operations in Afrin‎. Turkish armed forces and Turkish-backed militias have been present in the region since March 2018. A recent United Nations Syrian Commission of Inquiry report confirmed that the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) has been committing war crimes in Afrin‎ and Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê). These crimes include abductions, disappearances, and gender-based sexual violence. Turkey has also been held responsible for such actions.