‘The biggest danger to the future of Afrin people is the change of demography’

In Afrin under occupation for 3 years, the Turkish state has been changing the demographic structure, building colonial houses and devastating historical artifacts before the eyes of the world.

The Turkish state launched a large-scale attack on Afrin with 27 fighter jets on 20 January 2018. The invading forces targeted the civilian population and even attacked humanitarian institutions such as hospitals. During the past 3 years that followed, Turkey has made a serious effort to change the demography of the region.

The majority of Afrin people were forced to migrate due to the silence of international forces on Turkish crimes. The IDPs, who settled into Shehba, continue their resistance.

Speaking to ANHA, co-chair of the Afrin Executive Assembly, Bekir Elo stated that the Turkish state has systematically changed the demographic structure of Afrin since its occupation. He recalled that Afrin people were forcibly displaced and families of the gangs were settled in the evacuated places. The Turkish forces and allied gangs are still committing various crimes against the people who remain in Afrin, such as kidnapping, threatening and killing, he added.

Remarking that the international community plays ostrich in the face of the Turkish crimes in Afrin, Elo continued, “Changing the demographic structure is a crime against humanity and a war crime. The acts perpetrated in Afrin constitute a war crime.”

Defining the alteration of the demography as a very dangerous act for the future of Syria, Elo continued, “Turkey wants to smooth the way for its ambitions to revive the Ottoman Empire by extending the war in Syria. The inaction of humanitarian and legal institutions continues to endanger the future of Syria.”

‘Resistance in Shehba is the first step to free Afrin’

Expressing that Afrin people continue their resistance despite the harsh conditions they experience in the camps, Bekir Elo said, “The people of Afrin have been living in camps under harsh conditions for nearly 4 years. They continue their resistance despite all challenges because they are aware that the resistance in Shehba is the first step to free Afrin. They continue to resist with this awareness. However, the responsibility to free Afrin does not fall to its people alone. Everyone who stands against the realization of Ottoman dreams in Syria should struggle to liberate Afrin. We should enhance the struggle and resist the Turkish state against these plans. We should expose all the crimes committed by the Turkish state and its mercenary gangs and raise our voices for Afrin people’s right to return home.”