SOHR holds the Turkish government responsible for the daily flagrant violations in Afrin area of kidnapping, arresting, torturing, killing, royalties, trafficking in detainees, settling, seizing, and looting
256 days of violations, about 37 weeks of violations, killing, and displacement, and a seventh month of international silence on letting the murder, abuse, and looting to be carried out in Afrin area in the northwestern part of Aleppo province, since the start of Operation “Olive Branch” in the 20th of January 2018, which was announced by the Turkish authorities and leaders and supervised the command, leading, and funding factions of the Operation, then, after all of that, they set the factions free to practice the flagrant daily violations in Afrin city and its villages and towns, which were monitored and documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights during the previous period, as the violations continued to be committed by the factions of the Operation.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored since the start of the military operation of the Turkish forces and the Syrian opposition rebel and Islamic factions; the start of the arrests of Afrin area’s citizens, where the arrests began as the military forces were able to enter areas populated by people who refused to leave their villages and towns and flee towards other Syrian areas, as hundreds of thousands others have done due to the military operation, which used a large volume of firepower to control Afrin area of the rugged nature, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the arrest of more than 2338 citizens including more than 835 who are still in detention, the Syrian Observatory’s local sources confirmed that releasing the detainees was carried out after investigations and torture against them, while the rest were released after most of them payed the ransom imposed by members of “Olive Branch” operation, which sometimes reached more than 10 million Syrian pounds, but no deterrence or accountability has been carried out by the Turkish authorities or Turkish Forces in the area, the thing that provoked discontent among the people, especially those who lost children in the torture and abductions carried out by the factions, and of who still have detainees within the detention facilities and in places most of which took place in houses seized by the rebel and Islamic factions in Afrin city and its countryside.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been monitoring the number of casualties raising day after day, as the fate of tens of those who were unaccounted for is revealed, where it rose to 373 civilians including 55 children and 36 women, the number 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, also the shelling wounded hundreds of the citizens with varying severity, also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the death of at least 1580 fighters of YPG and Self-Defense Forces, who have been killed since the start of Operation “Olive Branch”, while about 634 members of the Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions including 83 Turkish soldiers, who were killed in the clashes against Kurdish Forces in Afrin area since the start of Operation “Olive Branch” in January 2018, and 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 128 assassinations and targetings 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.
The Syrian Observatory also monitored after the trafficking in detainees, demanding ransoms, fabricating arrests, the escalation of human casualties as a result of the continuous violations –which are not subject to any objection by the supportive authorities which command these factions– the Syrian Observatory monitored the Turkish authorities and the factions fighting the remaining residents of Afrin area through 3 main ways: the first of which is the process of settling displaced people from the capital Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Ghouta, and other areas of southern and central Syria; and housing them in seized houses of which their former people were displaced from in the large wave of displacement, where more than 300000 Kurdish citizens had fled Afrin area towards the northern countryside of Aleppo, where displaced people are being resettled and sold land for $100 per 400 meters, and this glutton in the sale of real estate pushed the factions also to expel the displaced people and bring families of their fighters to Afrin and settling them in, while the second method was fighting through the seizure and restriction of their agricultural crops and clamping down on them in harvesting olives; and preventing them from compressing it except by an official papers and delivering crops, while the factions burn crops and trees of people who refuse to pay royalties depending on the size of the farm, the number of olive trees, and the nature of the area in which they reside, where the “Olive Branch” operation factions arbitrary control the economic resources in Afrin- came against the backdrop of the seizure of most of the olive plantations in Afrin by the factions of operation “Olive branch”, and leasing it dealers and workers to work in them and receive money in advance as a price for the lease of these seized plantations, which are more than 75% of the area of olive farms in Afrin, after the factions shared control of olive farms.
The factions also deliberately steal and loot property of citizens, their warehouses, and their shops without fear or deterrence from any other faction or authority, while the third method of fighting is by security-and-living pressure on the people, and pushing them to move out of Afrin area, amid facilities provided by the checkpoints for the people who are getting out of Afrin, of whom more than 750 families have gone to Manbij area, Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), and other areas under the control of Syria Democratic Forces, although the checkpoints themselves have been narrowing down for months on the citizens of Afrin area, who wish to return from areas of their displacement in the northern countryside of Aleppo to their cities, towns, and villages in Afrin, after their tragedy in the displacement camps escalated, and after the lack of relief provided to these camps of food, medicine, supplies and the camps themselves, and other than that, there are the royalties imposed on the civilian and the people who move in Afrin area on the main and sub-roads, where varying sums of money are paid to checkpoints of “Olive Branch” Forces, who stop the small, large, public and private vehicles, and sometimes it goes beyond royalty and turn to looting, not to mention the continuous loot of the property of citizens with each raid in Afrin city and its villages, whose losses are either physical through the factions’ looting of property and contents of the house, or through the arrest of a resident of the house after fabricating charges relating to the “cooperation with the Kurdish Forces”, in an attempt to impose their power over the area.
And as the major human tragedy in the north of Syria continues –which is the displacement of more than 300000 Kurdish citizens– and with the continued violations against thousands of who remained in Afrin area within “Olive Branch” operation’s controlled areas, which is led and supported by the Turkish Forces; the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights holds the Turkish authorities responsible for all violations against the residents of Afrin area in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo Province, where despite the violations, killings, displacement, torture, looting, stealing, imposing royalties, and trafficking in detainees; the Turkish authorities is still allowing the Forces of “Olive Branch” Operation and the rebel and Islamic factions to do what they want, all of that is underway amid international silence to the daily violations against the Syrian people in Afrin area, and we call on the international community and the actor countries to pressure the Turkish authorities, in order to stop the Syrian opposition factions of the “Olive Branch” Operation from carrying out these flagrant daily violations that have tired people of Afrin area, of who stayed in their villages and towns, also we call on the international community to work diligently to bring the inhabitants of Afrin area back to their homeland, and guarantee their lives and safety, where there is no place for them to displace to and no organization providing assistance, we also call on humanitarian and relief agencies to provide assistance that will benefit the displaced people of Afrin, and providing medical treatment to hundreds of thousands of displaced people in a narrow geographical area, we also call on the international community to press Turkey to open the checkpoints for people wishing to return to Afrin, and to control the factions that have not left anything without being looted, the factions which exercise daily violations against inhabitants of Afrin area.