Nightmare tale of a citizen in Afrin

I.B. had returned to Afrin fooled by Turkish propaganda. “What I lived - he said now - was a nightmare”.

Citizens returning to Afrin after the propaganda of the Turkish state said that every mercenary group is acting as if they had a 'state' of their own, while people are subjected to torture and violence.

I.B. had returned to Afrin fooled by the propaganda of the occupying Turkish state. He spoke to ANHA about what he found in Afrin.

I.B. said that the situation in Afrin is clearly much worse than that claimed by the Turkish state, and that he was held for many days by mercenaries and subjected to heavy torture.

"The occupation of Afrin carried out by the Turkish army and mercenaries means violence for citizens. There is a very bad relation. Groups of mercenaries kidnap and torture dozens of people every day. Some civilians have been abducted up to six times. Each group of mercenaries is acting on their own”.

I.B. added: “A lot of people are released on ransom after being kidnapped by a group of mercenaries. However, after a few days, they are kidnapped again, this time by another group and threatened to be killed if the relatives don’t pay yet another ransom”.

Stating that Afrin civilians were held in a prison in the village of Çobanbey, North of Aleppo, I.B. added that the fate of hundreds of Afrin civilians was unknown and that many people were subjected to torture.

'Schools turned into torture centres’

I.B. said that the Turkish occupation forces and their mercenary allies are using schools as torture centres and have turned many schools in the region into prisons.

"The Turkish army and the mercenaries are building their military bases in civilian settlements. For example, in the Ashrafiyah neighborhood of Afrin, mercenaries are in four different points and civilians can only move with permission documents. Citizens can only go out from 9 am to 2 pm and only at this time they can try and find what they need. Despite this, mercenaries still plunder the houses of citizens and harass them all the time”.

On the second day of Eid al-Fitr, I.B. said that he was arrested along with three children by members of Jabhat al-Shamiya group and that he was held at a check-point in Kawa the Blacksmith Boulevard and questioned by a mercenary named Ebu Ali Darazî.

"After 4 days of arrest, I was brought to the legislative assembly building in the center of Afrin. There were more than 200 Turkish soldiers and mercenaries there. They did not keep me there, but took me to the school Emir Xobari in Azadi Square. In the school there were dozens of mercenaries and more soldiers calling themselves a civilian asayish (security). I was held there for about 20 days. Every mercenary group accused me of helping YPG and asked for money”.

I.B. added: "After hard torture, the fourth stop of my nightmare was Keramê school in Old Afrin neighborhood. I stayed there for 15 days and suffered constant torture and physical violence. There were dozens of mercenaries and Turkish soldiers. Every day civilians were arrested, tortured, and their property plundered. In the end, they have handed me over to the mercenaries who are going around calling themselves a civilian security. They then sent me to a mercenary court near Avrin hospital”.

I.B. told that hundreds of civilians were arrested by mercenaries and released after ransom was paid. "The kidnappers ask 2,500 dollars to be paid to the mercenary groups courts”.

I.B. added that his 12-member family paid 200 dollars each to the mercenaries to allow them to leave the city.