Dozens of olive trees cut down in Turkish-occupied Afrin

Crimes against humanity, demographic change, plunder and massacre of nature continue in Afrin occupied by the Turkish state and its gangs in 2018.

The Turkish army, together with its mercenaries, has been committing crimes against humanity such as arbitrary treatment of the people of the region, forced displacement, violence, kidnapping, robbery, plunder and looting policies since the occupation of the city. With this policy, the invaders are trying to force the remaining local people to emigrate in order to be able to replace them with mercenary families and Turkmens close to them.

According to reports from the ground, people brought in from Eastern Ghouta and settled cut down the olive trees belonging to Nuri Najar and Heyder Şêx Hesen in the village of Tirinde.

In the village of Eyn Dara, 15 olive trees belonging to a villager named Mihemed Cuma were cut down on 11 December and 75 olive trees belonging to Ehmed Omer on 7 December.

According to the information obtained, 4,400 olive trees have been cut down by the Turkish state gangs settled in Afrin since the beginning of this year.

Afrin Canton was the westernmost canton of Rojava and North and East Syria, home to 200,000 ethnic Kurds. Though the population was overwhelmingly Kurdish, it was home to diverse religious groups including Yazidis, Alawites and Christians alongside Sunni Muslims.

On 20 January 2018, Turkey launched air strikes on 100 locations in Afrin, as the onset of an invasion they dubbed ‘Operation Olive Branch.’

The Turkish Airforce indiscriminately shelled civilians as well as YPG/YPJ positions, while a ground assault was carried out by factions and militias organised under the umbrella of the Turkish-backed National Army.

By 15 March, Turkish-backed militias had encircled Afrin city and placed it under artillery bombardment. A Turkish airstrike struck the city’s only functioning hospital, killing 16 civilians.

Civilians fled and the SDF retreated, and by 18 March Turkey was in de facto occupation of Afrin. Between 400 and 500 civilians died in the invasion, overwhelmingly as a result of Turkish bombing. Other civilians were summarily executed in the field.

Prior to the Turkish invasion, Afrin had been one of the most peaceful and secure parts of Syria, virtually never seeing combat during the civil war bar occasional skirmishes between YPG/YPJ and jihadi forces on its borders. As a result, Afrin offered peaceful sanctuary to over 300,000 internally displaced people from elsewhere in Syria.