In Afrin (Efrîn), to assert its power, Turkey continues to use force to repress people. Twenty two civilians, six of them women, were subjected to torture and murdered in the past three months, according to a recent report.
The Afrin Human Rights Organisation released its report assessing the situation in Afrin. It further states that 139 civilians, nineteen of them women, were abducted by rebel groups in Afrin in the past three months alone.
According to the report, the armed groups in Afrin committed crimes of hostage-taking, inhumane treatment, torture and pillage.
The armed groups have been kidnapping civilians for ransom, placing many in indefinite detention and also blackmailing civilians under instructions from the Turkish intelligence organisation (MIT).
The policy aimed at ‘demographic change’ of the region lies at the heart of these human rights violations.
The Turkish military and the armed groups it supports in Afrin have also confiscated homes and the belongings of civilians who were forced to flee due to the pressure they were subjected to by the authorities.
In Afrin Human Rights Organisation’s report, it was also noted that the harvests in Mabata and Shiyê were seized by the armed groups and also 20,000 olive trees were taken over in Dar Girê village in Şera district.
”A street in the district of Jindirês was sold by the Nureddin El Zenki group for 25,000 US dollars to the Ehrar El Sharkiya armed group”, it also stated.
The report confirms the existence of dungeons and torture chambers in Afrin by Turkish forces and its allied armed groups, which civilians are taken to. There are also dungeons and torture chambers operated by MIT in the city, the Afrin Human Rights Organisation notes.
It identifies a torture chamber in the city located in Kawa Square and states that MIT officers take civilians who were subjected to torture afterwards to the dungeon in the village of Ekbis in Raco district, or to prisons in Turkey.
Civilians detained from this dungeon in Ekbis spoke to Hawar (ANHA) news agency and stated that there were four MIT members named Abu Haydar, Abu Arab, Abu Sayir and Abu Ziyad in the ‘torture-interrogation’ team.
The witnesses also stated that the women who were detained were subjected to routine mistreatment, tortured, raped and sexually harassed and threatened by armed groups taking instructions from MIT.
In addition, the report confirms that school buildings and historical sites in Afrin have been turned into military bases and torture centres.
According to the Afrin Human Rights Organisation, the Trade Vocational High School in Afrin’s city centre has been turned into a holding-interrogation-torture centre by the military police, and Faysal Kedur School building has been turned into a base for Turkey’s special operations forces.
The Turkish state attempts to alter the demographic structure of the city using these policies and practices.