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(en) anarkismo.net: The chilling figures of the Turkish occupation of Afrin Leandro Albani - La Tinta (ca, it) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 15 Aug 2018 08:48:01 +0300


Houses demolished, streets crammed with rubble and dirt, corners guarded by those who recently swore allegiance to Abu Bark Al Baghdadi - the mysterious leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) - and a decimated population that if he did not flee now lives under a system of terror guarded by the Turkish army. Homes and businesses plundered, mass kidnappings of men and women, deaths at any time of the day, and a systematic population replacement plan, as seldom seen in the 21st century. These harrowing postcards are part of the reality of Afrin, the Kurdish region of northern Syria that was invaded by Turkey in March this year, killing more than two hundred people due to aerial bombings that lasted two months and the displacement of more of 150 thousand inhabitants who took refuge, in their majority,

Afrin is one of the three cantons that make up the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, a border territory with Turkey that was liberated in 2012, when it was proclaimed the beginning of the Rojava revolution, led by the Kurdish people and their self-defense forces (YPG / YPJ). The Afrin region is made up of around 380 villages and towns, and is located 40 kilometers from the city of Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria.

Last Tuesday, the news agency Firat News published an extensive report in which it shows the situation in Afrin, in which some 500 thousand displaced people from all over Syrian territory had taken refuge in almost seven years of war. The research, entitled "Cultural annihilation and demographic change in Afrin", confirmed that in that region rich in agriculture and fresh water there is " a tragedy of Dantesque proportions before the silence of the world ".

" Torture, murder, rape, destruction of cultural heritage and annihilation of peoples are part of the strategies of the Turkish occupiers and their terrorist allies ", is the summary presented in the report.

The presence of the Turkish army, the Free Syrian Army (ISS), ISIS and the Al Nusra Front (Syrian arm of Al Qaeda) - under Operation Olive Branch - generates a critical landscape to this day, where the civilian population is the main target. Faced with this situation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not hesitate to call these terrorist groups "National Forces" that bring "freedom" to Afrin.

In the report it was detailed that the demographic change of the region is one of the fundamental objectives of the occupants. "Instead of the population that had to escape from Afrin, the SLA militiamen and their families from Eastern Guta were settled in the region thanks to an agreement with Russia. There are around 41,000 people who are part of that agreement and who have been settled in Afrin, although the process has not yet concluded , "said the investigation.

As part of this plan, " the Kurdish language has been banned and people are forced to use Arabic or Turkish," the report said. Turkish flags wave and images of Erdogan are mandatory. In particular, the Alevi and Yezidi settlements have been completely destroyed . "

The districts where most people were displaced are Jindires, Sherawa and Mabata. In those places, entire families in which the men are part of terrorist groups are moved and installed in the houses abandoned forcibly by their owners.

Destroy and steal the heritage

Since last January, when Turkish aviation began bombing its objectives there was also the destruction of cultural heritage. On January 27, the air strikes destroyed a settlement built in 1300 BC (BC) near the village of Girê Darê. The archaeological remains of the settlement included an Ishtar temple with more than 3,000 years old, declared as one of the most important historical sites in Syria by UNCESCO.

The Hurrian site, built in 2500 BC and recognized by UNESCO as a place of special protection in the Middle East, was bombed three times. The place was called Nebî Hurî by the Kurds and Cyrrhus by the Greeks. In this place the churches of Santa Kozma and Demianos were built. Other areas attacked by aviation and Turkish troops are the Roman churches in the village of Kalutê and the castle in the village of Elbîzka, also from Roman times. As if that were not enough, the bombings reached the buildings of the Mitanni period in the village village of Kolpe.

The report also revealed that items and relics were stolen by ELS members and sold in Turkey. "Most objects were taken to Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. So far 16,000 Afrin historical objects have been brought to Turkey, "the investigation said. According to the director of the Museum of Syria, Mehmud Hemud, the stolen pieces are many more than the known figure since it was not possible to make a complete count.

Nor the dead have peace

Looted cemeteries and destroyed tombs. This happened in Sêx Zêd, in the district of Zêdiyê, and in Sehîd Seydo, in Jindires. In addition, the occupation forces demolished the Rajo cemetery with heavy machinery. To these facts it is added that at least 12 Yezidi cemeteries were decimated by the terrorists. In the cemetery of Sêx Berekat, not only graves and the memory of the Yezidi people were desecrated, but the Turkish State built a military base.

Among the methods used by the occupation is also the forced conversion to the more conservative Sunni Islam, which ISIS raises as a flag. The investigation noted that " the Yezidis and Alevis who have remained in Afrin are being forced to convert to Islam. Those who refuse are attacked, tortured, insulted and robbed" The Yezidis, Kurds who profess a religion that has syncretism as one of its characteristics and has a strong influence of Zoroastrianism, are one of the main victims of the occupation. It is estimated that 22 Yezidi majority villages were destroyed and declared restricted areas. According to the report, the Turkish army built military bases in the villages of Elî Qîna and Qestel Cindo.

Complaints grow, silence remains

On Thursday, August 2, Amnesty International (AI) published the report "Turkey must end the serious human rights violations committed by allied groups and their own forces in Afrin" , in which it denounced that " Turkish forces are giving groups armed Syrians absolute freedom to commit serious abuses against the human rights of the civilian population in the northern city of Afrin . "

According to the investigation spread by AI, "Turkey's offensive and military occupation have aggravated the suffering of the people of Afrin, who have already endured a bloody conflict for years. We heard frightening accounts of people being detained, tortured or subjected to forced disappearance by Syrian armed groups, which continue to wreak havoc on the civilian population without the control of the Turkish forces . "

The report stated that "Turkey is the occupying power in Afrin, and therefore is responsible for the welfare of the civilian population and the maintenance of public order. So far, your armed forces have failed miserably in fulfilling these obligations. They can not shirk their responsibility by using Syrian armed groups to do their dirty work. Without further delay, Turkey must put an end to human rights violations committed by pro-Turkish armed groups, hold their perpetrators accountable and commit to helping Afrin residents rebuild their lives . "

Although the occupation spread the violence in Afrin - recognized as the most peaceful region of Syria so far in the internal conflict - the Turkish troops and their allies do not have everything to gain. The YPG / YPJ continue to operate through guerrilla warfare in order to disrupt Ankara's plans. In the latest report released by the YPG / YPJ, on July 6, it was noted that since January 20 2502 Turkish soldiers and mercenaries were killed.

Although Erdogan tries to move comfortably in Afrin, emboldened by the support of the United States and Russia to the occupation, the Turkish leader does not seem to have all the win: a silent but permanent resistance grows breaking the sound of the bombs.

https://www.anarkismo.net/article/31100
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