On the eve of Nowruz festivals…Afrin witnesses arrests against its residents by the factions of “Olive Branch” on charge of celebrating and setting fire in the festival’s anniversary

Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned from a number of reliable sources, that factions operating within the operation “Olive Branch” arrested a number of men and young men in Kafr Safra area and other areas of Afrin countryside, on charge of “celebrating Nowruz festival and setting fires in its anniversary”, and the arrests come on the eve of Nowruz which is celebrated worldwide by the Kurds every year on the 21st of March, where the Kurds tend set fires in the villages and over the hills celebrating a historic symbolic anniversary of them, while the Syrian Observatory published about 48 hours ago, that has received a copy of a circulation issued by the local councils in the area, reporting that there will not be a holiday on the 20th of March 2019, or on any other day, there will never be a holiday in Nowruz, and all of the official institutions will continue their work on the 21st of the same month, and the citizens will not be allowed in Nowruz to protest, setting fire to tires, celebrate or take pleasure, after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had documented that fighters of the factions operating within Operation “Olive Branch” have destroyed the statue of the Kurdish symbol “Kaveh the Blacksmith”, whose statue was placed in one of the squares of Afrin city, which is coincided with approaching the festivals of Nowruz which is held every year on the 21st of March.

While the SOHR also published 48 hours ago that the kidnapping and arresting of about 2630 citizens including more than 1050 persons who are still in detention, while the rest were released after most of them paid ransom imposed by members of the “Olive Branch” Operation, sometimes it reached more than 10 million Syrian pounds, where the Syrian Observatory monitored more than once that the factions send audio or video clips to families of the abducted people, and impose money without bargaining, along with threats of liquidating their relatives if the desired amount of money was not paid, also the factions who were given authority by Turkey in the area -after international silence that has given power to Turkey in Afrin- carried out arrests against both genders, men and women, after these factions turned the kidnappings and ransom on charges the most prominent of which are “belonging to the Kurdish Forces and communicating and working for them”, where kidnapping for a ransom has become a popular trade adopted by most factions, in an attempt to collect the largest possible amount of money, and to clamp down on the remaining population in the region, and the SOHR monitored that the factions have transferred abductees to detention and custody centers made up of civilian homes that were seized and turned by them into headquarters for the pro-Turkey factions, which share influence and property in Afrin, and from time to time carry out looting and confiscation of property and funds.

Afrin witnessed massacres and killing operations claimed the lives of 389 civilians including 55 children and 36 women of civilian citizens of the Kurds, Arabs, and Armenians, tens of them were killed in a mine explosion and under torture by “Olive Branch” factions, also the majority of them were killed by the Turkish aerial and artillery shelling and bombardment, and in several executions against citizens in Afrin area since the 20th of January 2018, until the same date of 2019, including about 89 civilians including 6 children and 3 women, were killed since after the Turkish Forces took control of Afrin on the 19th of March 2018, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also monitored the injury of hundreds and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of others, where the violations and inhuman practices remained the share of the remaining residents of Afrin area, who refused to leave their homes and farms for the Turkish Forces and factions that stole, devoured, looted, and seized the property of civilians and private and public property in the entire area of Afrin.

And the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also monitored more than 158 assassinations, attacks and targeting operations that targeted “Olive Branch” in Afrin area, since the Kurdish forces lost Afrin area at the end of the second third of March 2018, where it rose to 698, the number of members of the Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions including 85 Turkish soldiers, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the death of at least 1586 fighters of YPG and Self-Defense Forces, who have been killed since the start of Operation “Olive Branch” in January 2018, also at least 91 of the popular members of the regime forces have been killed in the Turkish bombardment since they entered on the 20th of February 2018, while the Turkish forces have carried out about 144 assassinations and targeting against the forces controlling Afrin, while leading sources of the YPG denied that their forces or cells had relation or responsibility for many of the assassinations and acts of torture; some of which appeared on videos and attributed to the Kurdish Forces, and the sources accused other cells belong to other parties of carrying out these assassinations and attributing them to the Kurdish Forces for their own agenda, the main aim of which is to escalating their violations against the civilians, where the resentment has been increasing among the civilians day after day, with the unfair and unjust procedures, and the silence of the Turkish Forces -who are leading the “Olive Branch” operation- and not responding to their complaints.

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