Kurdish journalist Ibrahim Ibrahim has produced an investigative news report for Ahval News that details the extensive nature of human rights violations in Afrin in northwest Syria. We are translating a summary of his article which also details organ trafficking human rights violations.
On January 20, 2018, Turkish forces, along with their extremist Islamist allies and terrorist groups, 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.
According to a report posted on the Al-Hall website (19/3/2018), the Syrian mercenary Samir, who participated in the invasion of Afrin, said, “From the first moment we entered Afrin, Free Syrian Army members started pillaging commercial shops and civil institutions”
In the last two years, Syrian armed groups have been seriously violating human rights against Kurdish civilians in Afrin in front of Turkish army forces. Moreover, the silence of the international community encourages Turkish forces and mercenaries to continue their brutal practices against Kurdish civilians.
Since the invasion of Afrin, Turkish forces have systematically terrorized the population who lives there through demographic changes, economic pressures (because they cut down olive trees, which were the sole livelihood of Afrin residents), by burning agricultural products, destroying antiquities and stealing them.
Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of crimes in Afrin that has caused many Kurdish citizens to flee their homes. Turkish forces and gangs have arrested Kurdish citizens simply for speaking in Kurdish or for meeting with their relatives who live outside Afrin.
It should be noted that organ trafficking is also happening on a noticeable scale in Afrin. Nazlı Hacı Raşid, a Kurdish citizen from Afrin’s Kuşu village, was suffering from a normal illness and taken to a hospital that is administered by Turkish intelligence. She was murdered in the hospital – according to Nazlı’s family – and when her family recovered her body, they realized that most of her organs had been stolen. There are numerous examples of ‘organ theft’ that have been documented, Ibrahim Ibrahim reports. For example:
– All the organs of Nidal Barakat (38 years old) from Jindires were removed from his body on 10 October 2020.
– Halil Şeyho’s child was killed by Turkish border guards and all the child’s organs were reportedly removed and ‘stolen’.
– On 31 October 2019, Osman Ahmed (70 years old) from Burj Abdallah village was killed in a terrorist attack that hit the Al-Hal market in Afrin. His organs were removed and ‘stolen’. All the organs of Abd al-Hanan Muhammed Hassan and Mohammed Mahmud Abu (from the village of Korzila) who died in the terrorist attack that hit the Al-Hal market in Afrin were also ‘stolen’.
Turkish forces and mercenaries have increased pressures of various kinds on Kurdish families and forced them to leave their homes. According to a report by the Afrin Activists Network, published in December 2020, during the last two weeks of December, there were numerous cases of Kurdish citizens being shot as part of a terror campaign aimed at forcing Kurds to leave their homes. There are also numerous detailed documents, Ibrahim Ibrahim reports, that prove that Turkish forces and linked mercenary groups were involved in the kidnapping of 100 Kurdish citizens, including 25 women and children from the village of Maabatli.
The seizure of civil property in Afrin has become very common. Mercenaries first seized it, then sell them. For example, a settler from Ailka village seized the home of Kurdish citizen Hassan Qanbar, then sold it to another settler for $ 1,200. Another house belonging to Kurdish citizen Halil Ahmed from Basuta village was sold for 800 dollars. These are only two examples of many.
According to the media report about Afrin published by the Egyptian Al-Shams News website, the terrorist group called the Damascus Legion, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, threatened the people of Basufan, Burj Haydar, Ba’ayat, Fafratin, and Kabashin villages. In the Sherawa area, after several weeks of siege, the people were forcibly evicted from their homes.
In a report prepared by the Violation Documentation Center in Northern Syria, it was stated that more than 3,500 Yazidis lived in Iskan village before the occupation, but only 200 people remain today. Yazidi village was subjected to all kinds of violations by the Damascus Legion militants; they were prevented from practicing their religion and asked to accept Islam by force.
As the mercenaries changing the cultural heritage of Afrin, they also steal many antiques. Al-Nabi Houri castle is one of the destroyed archaeological sites and was converted to a mosque that is controlled by Turkey Hatay Directorate of Foundations.
The mercenaries are also cutting the trees in Afrin. Recently, they cut more than 130 olive trees belonging to the Kurdish citizen Muhammad Halil Hamo from Haloubia village and 90 trees of a citizen named Muhammed Derviş from Matina village. More than 900 trees in Mapata and 220 olive trees in Qarah Gerne was cut and sold as firewood in the markets in Turkey.
According to successive human rights reports on the situation in the Afrin region, there are many Qatari, Turkish, and Muslim Brotherhood charities and organizations to root the settlement in Afrin and change the demography. Also, we can say that more than 18 educational and cultural centers were turned into military headquarters, 9 houses were destroyed, 500 graves were destroyed, and 35 houses were seized.