On 20 January 2018 Turkish forces, along with their extremist Islamist allies and mercenaries, launched a massive military attack on the Kurdish province of Afrin in northwest Syria. The Afrin province was relatively quiet compared to other Syrian cities and was a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Syrians who were escaping from the war. Violations of human rights, kidnapping and torture have been rife since the occupation of the city.
According to a Mesopotamia Agency report, the North East Syria Centre for Documenting Violations of Rights announced that 18 civilians were kidnapped by Turkish state forces and Turkish-backed mercenaries in Afrin (Efrîn) and Tel Abyad (Girê Spî) over the last 10 days.
The report documents the kidnapping of one person in the Şêrawa district of Afrin (Efrin) on 1 January, one in Raco district on 2 January, four people from the same family in the Cinderês district on 3 January, four in the Mahmudiye neighbourhood of Afrin on 4 January, six (including two women) in Girê Spî on 6 January, one in Cinderes on 7 January, and one in Cinderes on 8 January.
Violations of human rights
The Afrin Human Rights Organisation had previously announced a report on violations of human rights and the material damage inflicted on Afrin by Turkish-backed mercenaries in the last three years.
According to the report, 674 civillians were murdered in Afrin in the past three years. The demography of the region was significantly altered and olive groves were cut down. Seventy-five historical artifacts were destroyed, the report states.
The Afrin Human Rights Organisation has called on the United Nations, UNICEF and UNESCO to take action to stop the violations and damage inflicted on Afrin.