More than three years have passed since the Turkish armed forces and its mercenaries launched ‘Operation Olive Branch’ against the Kurdish populated district of Afrin (Efrin).
Since Turkey seized control of Afrin in March 2018 thousands of locals have become refugees, and serious human rights violations have been recorded by both local and international human rights organisations. It has also been reported that Turkey is destroying the historical monuments of the district.
Turkey and its mercenary bands are continuing to commit crimes like altering the demography of Afrin, abducting people, stealing and murder, and they are also pillaging historical places, reports the Northeast Syrian Hawar news agency (ANHA).
Bedran Hemo, a local politician from the region, tells ANHA that Turkey and its mercenary bands are pillaging a number of historical areas that have been placed under the protection of UNESCO.
“They have demolished villages, castles, historical monuments. They have demolished everything historical,” he stated.
Hemo says that Turkey is trying to erase Afrin’s Kurdish identity, and that UNESCO is remaining silent in the face of this cultural massacre.
“Turkey and its gangs are taking over, they are savages. We need to show this to the international public, and they need to take a stance against this destruction.”
Another local politician, İbrahim Xelil agrees with him, and claims that “Turkey is repeating the genocidal policies of the Ottomans,” pointing out that “the Ottomans stole many Islamic works of art from the Hejaz in Saudi Arabia, taking them to Istanbul, and they also conducted many massacres and raids under the flag of Islam.”
Xelîl said that Erdoğan personified the Ottoman aggressors.
“Erdoğan personifies the Ottoman tradition. He is still committing crimes against humanity in Afrin, Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.”
He said that the Turks and their mercenaries had pillaged history before they took over Afrin.
“They are attacking the legacy of the Kurdish people. They have not left anywhere whole in Afrin, below ground or above it. They have stolen, they have plundered, they have burnt everything.”
Xelil said that international organisations should be protecting the historical monuments, and stressed that resistance will continue until Afrin is liberated.