​​​​​​​2 years of Turkish occupation’s violations against Afrin amid international neglect

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented in a report two years of the Turkish occupation of Afrin region, where the report included demographic change operations, violations and theft of wealth, and confirmed that the situation is getting worse amid continuous international disregard.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that from the moment that the Turkish forces and their mercenaries have occupied the entire Afrin canton, the situation has worsened, as looting, arrests, and security chaos have become almost daily, in addition to the attempts of demographic change and reformulating the region in line with the interests of the Turkish state.

Since the occupation of Afrin on the 18th of March 2018, the mercenary gangs affiliated with Turkey were not negligent to take all means and measures to achieve their personal interests at the expense of the citizens who are being subjected to widespread extortion and looting operations. The situation did not stop at the extent of blackmailing the people, but rather it reached the point of deporting the Syrian refugees in Turkey and resettling them in Afrin, in addition to looting the olive oil which Afrin is famous for in the benefit of the mercenaries.

Isolation, forced displacement and demographic change ... Turkey violates international laws

According to the Observatory, as soon as the mercenary gangs have occupied the city and its countryside, they have launched operations and violations against the indigenous people in the city in an attempt to compel the people who refused to move to other areas to leave their areas. According to information obtained by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Turkish occupation forces and their mercenaries are currently re-registering the real estate in Afrin in order to deprive the displaced Kurds of the ownership of their lands, as statistics are being conducted of real estate, properties, and the number of residents in each village and the ethnicities they belong to within the demographic change processes targeted by Turkey in the region.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored, according to reliable information on the 8th of last July, the Turkish mercenaries census of Kurdish citizens’ properties in Afrin with the aim of imposing taxes on the properties according to the statistics, where informed sources told the Syrian Observatory that the mercenary gangs intend to impose a tax of 50 Turkish liras on each dunum of the agricultural lands.

According to informed sources, the mercenaries of al-Sultan Suleiman Shah faction have gathered citizens in front of the headquarter of the faction - a house of a Kurdish displaced who had been taken over by the mercenaries and turned into a military headquarter in the village of Khalil Oshagh of Sheikh al-Hadid (Shia) district - to demand them to pay money.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the number of displaced people from their areas towards the Syrian north with 120 thousand displaced people from Eastern Ghouta, the south of Damascus, the southern countryside of Damascus, Eastern Qalamoun, the northern countryside of Homs, the southern countryside of Hama. The Observatory has monitored, according to reliable information, the arrival of the largest portion of the displaced people in Afrin from which hundreds of thousands of its residents had been displaced by Turkish attacks.

According to reliable sources, tens of thousands of new displaced people have been settled in the civilian homes and farms owned by Kurdish citizens who fled from the Turkish and mercenaries’ violations.

The Syrian Observatory has also monitored the settlement of the displaced from Eastern Qalamoun and Eastern Ghouta in Afrin area by the Turkish authorities as part of a comprehensive process of demographic change in the region.

Taxes, looting and kidnapping ... Afrin citizens are prey to Turkey's mercenaries

The Observatory has added that almost no day passes without the citizens of Afrin being exposed to the violations of the mercenaries supported by Turkey, so that they have become a prey at the mercy of those gangs, unable to express their views for fear of being subjected to taxes, looting, kidnappings and blackmail. According to eyewitnesses to the Syrian Observatory, when an elderly man from Afrin boycotted the mercenary leader of al-Sultan Suleiman Shah and accused the mercenaries of burning and stealing the lands of cypress and olive trees, the mercenaries intentionally imposed an amount of 50,000 Syrian pounds on the old man because of his speech, while they imposed a tax of U.S. $ 700 on another person.

On the 23rd of last July, several mercenary gangs supported by Turkey in Afrin resorted to imposing new taxes on Kurdish citizens, where the Syrian Observatory learned from reliable sources that al-Amshat mercenaries have forced the residents of Dermeshkanli village to feed the mercenaries present there periodically.

While the mercenaries confiscated the sumac crop that belongs to the people of Kakhreh village in Mobata district in order to sell it to merchants close to them and impose taxes as a “commission” to them. In addition, the sources have also revealed that the mercenaries of al-Sultan Morad seized the livelihoods of citizens and stole the sumac crop in Darger village in Mobata district.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also learned that al-Amshat mercenaries issued a decision to impose taxes ranging from 50 to 150 thousand Syrian pounds on the owners of tractors and agricultural machineries in Sheikh al-Hadid district’s villages and towns, while the huge taxes were the share of the kidnappers to the factions of the Olive Branch, where the mercenary gangs demanded the kidnappers and detainees’ families huge sums of money in dollars, sometimes amounting to 200 thousand U.S. dollars.

Reliable sources have said to the Syrian Observatory: “The violations are taking place in Afrin in full swing from the first moment of the occupation of Afrin, where robberies, looting and taxation are taking place, and all this in order to implement the demographic change process that Turkey seeks to bring about in Afrin."

Archeology and olives .. Afrin fortunes are a source of profit for Turkey's mercenaries

Over the past few months, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has obtained information confirming that Turkey's mercenaries continue their violations in Afrin through attempts to erase the history of the region, as sources have revealed that those groups resorted to excavating and stealing antiquities and selling them in Turkey, where antiquities excavators obtain the proceeds from the sale of antiquities to finance the mercenaries.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored on the 10th of August that the mercenaries of al-Sultan Morad carried out processes of excavation and drift of soils in Bulbul district of ​​Afrin countryside, northeast of Aleppo in search of antiquities using heavy machineries, in addition to uprooting hundreds of olive trees under the full view of the Turkish occupation forces present in the region.

On the 16th of March of this year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored in the southwestern countryside of Afrin the arrival of Turkish equipment, devices and machineries at Janders hill with the aim of searching for burials and monuments inside that hill.

While reliable sources have indicated to the Syrian Observatory that those operations were preceded by the complete closure of roads close to and connected to the hill, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has obtained information from other sources, indicating that excavations are underway in the countryside of Mobata district in the western part of Afrin countryside, specifically in Tel Ali Aisha and Tel Zeravka areas.

According to reliable sources of the Syrian Observatory, a leader in the ranks of Faylaq al-Sham mercenaries is carrying out excavations in the two areas of Midanki and Nabi Huri, where the looting of the antiquities found during the search process is taking place amid Turkish neglect to change the history of the region.

At the end of his report, the Observatory said, "Two years after the occupation of Turkey for Afrin and the security situation continues to deteriorate amid countless violations committed by Turkey's mercenaries and intentionally neglect by the Turkish authorities for the violations of those gangs."

It added: "Despite all those violations and warnings by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other international human rights organizations, the world has not moved yet to save the citizens of Afrin from the violations they are exposed to, protect Afrin’s antiquities and protect the entire region from the demographic changes taking place there."


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