Following the Turkish occupation of Afrin in March 2018, the formation of the Afrin Liberation Forces(HRE) was announced. With this declaration, the resistance against the occupation entered a new stage.
A member of the Afrin Liberation Forces Command told ANHA about the recent situation in Afrin and the areas under Turkish occupation.
'The Turkish state could not alone occupy Afrin'
Joan talked about the democratic situation in Afrin before the occupation saying, " every component was in Afrin which embraced thousands of displaced people in its camps. The Turkish state launched an attack on Afrin with the support of external forces. Without Turkey's alliance with foreign powers, it would not have occupied Afrin, Afrin was occupied because of the dirty agreements.
He added, "the people fought an honorable struggle led by the YPG and YPJ against the Turkish occupation. The people of Afrin were displaced from the area. In this way, this peaceful area was destroyed, and a new Afrin was imposed."
'ISIS, al-Nusra and the Turkish state control Afrin'
Joan Afrin explained that the goal behind the formation of the Afrin Liberation Forces is to liberate Afrin, "In order to rid al-Bab, Azaz, Jrablos, Mara and al-Shahba from Turkish violations and liberate Afrin. Undoubtedly, the young people of this region did not accept the violations of the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries."
The commander added ,"look, the areas under the occupation of Turkey and its mercenaries are undergoing demographic change, murder, kidnapping, torture, rape and extortion in various ways. They deliberately destroy the nature of Afrin. The families of mercenaries were settled in Afrin. The area that was the cradle of coexistence has been transformed into a place for training and settling mercenaries. The Turkish state only builds mosques in Afrin. The Turkish state is trying to exploit religion to legitimize its occupation."
'The Turkmen are being settled in the border areas of Afrin'
The commander said that with the settlement of the mercenaries of Aleppo, Ghouta and Idlib, the number of mercenaries is three times the population of Afrin. "The aim of the mercenaries' settlement is to completely cleanse the Kurds in Afrin. Recently, the Turkish state resettled the Turkmen in the border areas. The aim of these measures is to change the demography of the region. The mercenary groups have reached a stage where they live in contradictions with the Turkish state and do not trust the mercenaries and the mercenaries know well that the Turkish state will sell them one day."
' the media turns blind eye to Turkish state crimes'
"The Turkish state does not want to expose its practice against humanity. Also, Afrin is part of Syrian territory, and even the Syrian media does not reveal the crimes of the Turkish state when the relationship between the two countries worsens, it mentions some of those practices," he said.
He said in the same context, "the international media, because they act in accordance with the interests of the countries, turns blind eye to the Turkish crimes in Afrin."
'Afrin residents are the main force in their liberation'
Regarding the main objectives of the Afrin Liberation Forces, Joan Afrin said, "Our operations will escalate, the people of Afrin are the main force in their liberation, so that everyone knows that our struggle will continue until Afrin is liberated and returned to its people."
Message to the resistance of al-Shahba
The commander praised the resistance of the people of Afrin in al-Shahba saying, "as we formed a force to liberate Afrin, the people of Afrin in al-Shahba are also resisting. Resistance in al-Shahba is based on the liberation of Afrin. Whatever the circumstances, the hardships of the people of Afrin in Al-Shahba district will turn into beautiful days."
'The Syrian regime is unable to affect the will of the people
Regarding the siege imposed on Al-Shahba by the Syrian regime, Joan Afrin said, "The Syrian regime is creating obstacles, and it is difficult to transfer basic materials to Al-Shahba in order to subdue the people there, but our resistance will not accept to surrender. The mission of the Syrian regime is to fight Turkish occupation and mercenary groups."
Secret meetings between the Turkish state and Russia in Afrin
Regarding the Russian-Turkish meetings, Joan Afrin said, "Russia turns a blind eye to what is happening in Afrin. According to our information, there were Turkish-Russian meetings in Azaz and Shirawa. The Russian-Turkish agreement is continuing on Afrin. Our operations will continue until the liberation of Afrin."