Müjdat Can of Mezopotamya News Agency interviewed Naylê Mihemed, a member of the Afrin Human Rights Organization, who shared the report by her organization on the crimes against women in Afrin in the last two months.
It has been four years since Afrin was occupied by Turkish armed forces and the Syrian National Army. Naylê Mihemed recalled that since 2018 at least 71 women have been killed, and 82 women have been raped. Given the information from the last report, she added that 12 women had been kidnapped in the previous two months alone.
The report presented by Mihemed states that four women have been killed, two of whom were children, and 12 women were kidnapped. Those killed were Ezîze Îbrahîm (41), Semîre Elwan (3), Fatme Elwan (9) and another woman whose name could not be learned. The names of the women who were kidnapped were also listed:
“Rohat Îbo from the village of Kaxirê in Mabeta district (24), Nisrîn Mihemed Weqas (30), child named Kewkeb Elî from Cindirêsê and also Xeyriyê Mihemed Mûsa (40), Xedîce Osa from the village of Qitmê in Şera district, Asya Ehmed Heyder and Firyal Hesen Hesen (52) from Afrin city center, Mûne El-Mekrûm (45) from the village of Dêrsiwan in Şera district, Asya Hisên Mûsa (60) and Hevi Mihemed Elî (18) from the village of Qude in Raco district.”
Women are first targets in Afrin
Mihemed underlined that Afrin was a city of “peace” before the attack and occupation and that the people lived there peacefully.
Mihemed said “Attacks towards women started as the first thing after the Afrin occupation and these attacks are still continuing.”
Families forced to marry daughters at a child age
Mihemed explained that the women who have not fled but still are in Afrin live in fear for their lives or violence and that many are being tortured. “They want those who stayed in Afrin to leave. Due to the attacks towards the women in Afrin, some families wanting to protect their daughters marry them at child age. They choose to do this so that their daughters are not taken away from them so that they are not subject to sexual assault or rape. Women are not free in their lives in Afrin. The situation has become such that women cannot go out of their houses. They are under the oppression of the Turkish state and the fighters of the armed groups supported by Turkey. The women can only go out with a male member of their family.” Mihemed also said that the aim of Turkey and these gangs were to force the remaining Kurds in Afrin to leave, to change the demography, culture and identity of Afrin and to annex Afrin to Turkey.”
The fight to return
At least half of the Kurdish majority population of Afrin, with a population of 300,000, were forcibly displaced as internally displaced persons from Afrin to the makeshift camps of Shehba after Turkey invaded the city in 2018.
Naylê Mihemed said that the whole purpose of the people who had to flee and settle in refugee camps in Shehba was to return to Afrin.
“Women have organized themselves everywhere for this purpose. There is a great resistence in Shehba led by women. They are waging a great struggle in order to return to Afrin. In these camps the women are fighting not only for themselves but also for all women in Afrin.” Mihemmed noted.
Appeal to international organisations
Mihemed called out to international institutions and said, “Organizations of Law, international institutions, human rights institutions should look out for and should protect the women who are oppressed in Afrin. They have to save these women from the offences of Turkey and the powers under their control. They should come to Afrin and to the camps in order to observe the injustices that the women and children live.”