Mercenaries take action to seize the olive groves of local people in Afrin
The Turkish army and allied mercenaries continue their crimes against the local population.
ANHA reported that the mercenary group Ebû Hesen El Muwalî (Abu Hassan al-Mawali) formed groups to levy a tribute on local people and seize their olive crops in the districts of Rajo, Jindires and Shiye in the occupied Afrin canton.
According to the report, the mercenary group tasked these groups from the Al-Mawali tribe to confiscate the local people’s olive groves and crops, which are to be shared among the Turkish-backed mercenaries. The new imposition was reportedly arranged to avoid a conflict between the occupation groups over sharing the property of people.
On the other hand, the so-called ‘Military Police’ gangs kidnapped a civilian named Hashim Xezal from the village of Bablite in Jindires district on 6 September. The man was taken to an undisclosed location.
Over 200 people kidnapped in seven months
According to the Afrin-Syria Human Rights Organization, 208 citizens, including 24 women and a child, have been abducted since the beginning of 2023. During the same period of time, at least 13 people, including 3 women, were killed. More than 16,000 trees were cut down, over a thousand trees were uprooted and over 70 hectares of land were burned.
In a statement on August 10, the organization stated that, “The invading Turkish state systematically violates human rights by carrying out crimes such as massacres, kidnappings, violence, ransoms, confiscation of people's properties, reselling the confiscated materials in the market and plundering the environment.”
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.