Turkish-backed mercenaries attack civilians, seize their motorbike in Afrin

The Turkish state's army recruited from mercenaries attacked 2 people, 1 of them a child, and seized their motorbike in a village of occupied Afrin.

The Human Rights Organisation Afrin-Syria announced that Faylaq al-Sham mercenaries, one of the gang groups backed and protected by the Turkish state, attacked a young man named Hekîm Elî Seydo (21) and a child named Rayan Mistafa Îsmaîl (13) at the checkpoint in Kosa village in the Rajo district of occupied Afrin.

It is stated that the gangs beat Îsmaîl and Seydo and confiscated the motorbike on the pretext that they were driving it too fast.

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.