Occupation forces kidnap a family of 8 in Afrin

The Turkish state and its army recruited from ISIS and its affiliates are committing crimes against humanity in Afrin, which they occupied in 2018.

The mercenary army of the occupying Turkish state, recruited from ISIS, al-Nusra and its derivative gangs, kidnapped a family of 8 people in Hêkêçe village of Shiye district of Afrin. It is reported that 3 of those kidnapped are children and 2 of them are women.

On the other hand, the gangs released a civilian they had kidnapped in the Coqê village in exchange for a 2 thousand dollar ransom.

According to the Crime Documentation Centre, the occupying forces have abducted 435 people in Afrin since the beginning of 2023.

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 Air Force 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 jihadist forces on its borders. As a result, Afrin offered peaceful sanctuary to over 300,000 internally displaced people from elsewhere in Syria.