Award winning international journalist Patrick Cockburn writing in The Independent labeled Donald Trump’s ‘green lighting’ of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the Kurdish city of Afrin as one of the worst crimes of Donald Trumps presidency. Cockburn who has traveled and reported from Afrin in 2018 and 2019 wrote: “It was the worst crime of Donald Trump’s years in the White House. In October 2019 he ordered US troops to stand aside, green-lighting Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria that led to the murder, rape and expulsion of its Kurdish inhabitants.”
Independent journalists have not been able to travel and report from Afrin in recent years but Cockburn made contact with a Kurdish mother residing in the city who detailed the horrific situation that exists for Kurds in the city.
Rohilat Hawar, a 34 year old Kurdish mother of three children told how she had become stuck in the city after trying flee in 2018 because of Turkish airstrikes on the city. She was unable to enter territory controlled by the Syrian regime to make her escape to Kurdish controlled North East Syria and so was forced to return to Afrin where she found her house had been looted. She now is trapped in the city and has been forced to wear a hijab for fear of violent and sexual attacks. Turkish backed Syrian Jihadi Militias shoot anyone trying to leave the city and Rohilat explained how a friend of hers was killed with her 10 year old child last year while trying to leave Afrin.
But once trapped in the city, Kurdish women face violent and sexual attacks from the Turkish controlled militias which was detailed by Rohilat. “Suddenly the motorcycle came close to the girls and the militiamen sitting on the back grabbed the breast of one of them,” says Rohilat. “Both girls started crying. The militiamen got off their motorcycle and started kissing them and fondling their breasts, only leaving them when a crowd gathered and Rohilat took the girls to her home”
Patrick Cockburn goes on the explain the reasons why the Turkish government have left the area occupied by Turkey after the invasion in 2018 in the hands of the Jihadist militias.
“By turning over on the ground control of Kurdish populated areas to anti-Kurdish Islamist gunmen, the Turkish government ensures ethnic cleansing, but without appearing to be directly responsible.” Cockburn reports.