المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

In the recent 20 days, Afrin witnesses the arrest of 40 citizens, the killing of 5 others, more decisions to seize the citizens’ crops and more casualties due to the ongoing assassinations

Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: violations continue as the Turkish forces and the factions backed by them are continuing to tamper with the area of ​​Afrin and its present, past and future, where the people and residents of the area are being subjected to violations and killing operations without anyone to prevent that from happening and there is no law holds the perpetrators accountable, and it is as if the mountains of Afrin and its villages, towns, cities and farms have turned into something like a jungle where violations are being committed by the factions operating within the Operation “Olive Branch”, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored in the recent 20 days that the Turkish forces and the factions operating within the Operation “Olive Branch” of rebel and Islamic factions, have arrested about 40 persons including a man and his wife who were taken to the houses which have been seized in Afrin and which have been turned by the factions of the “Olive Branch” into centers of abductions where the citizens are gathered and subjected to torture where they are beaten, tied and insulted, and what is more catastrophic is that the members of the “Olive Branch” send the pictures to their relatives in order to pay sums of money reach thousands of US Dollars, where these factions used the abduction as a source to collect money, thus, they practice the trafficking detainees professionally, where about 840 detainees are held in the jails and the centers of abducting and holding the Kurdish citizens from Afrin area, out of 2340 citizens who have been detained, while the Syrian Observatory monitored that these factions have killed 5 citizens including a Yazidi young man who were killed after being tortured or by direct gunfire.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored a new step in the process of the demographic change based on changing the names of streets and neighborhoods in Afrin city, and renaming them with new names in Arabic and Turkish, also the seizure of citizens’ crops and the olive farms is continuing by the local councils in the area, and by the Turkish forces, where reliable sources confirmed that Jendires Local Council issued a circular calling on the olive mills’ owners to transfer 10% of the outcome of the olive production to the council, and 5% to the mill, and this circular stressed on that the harvesting and pressing olive is prevented unless they have a letter certified by the Local Council in Jendires, like in previous decisions related to the prohibition of harvesting olives or pressing it without official permission.

The Syrian Observatory also learned that the Turkish authorities have constructed a land crossing linking between Afrin area and Iskenderun, through Hamam area, in order to be used for the trade of olive and transport it into the Turkish interior, where it is expected that the incoming days will witness a formal announcement about opening the crossing, and the sources suggested that it will be an alternative one for the crossing points of Bab Al-Hawa and Atma, and it will be also opened in order to facilitate the trade movement to and from Turkey, while the Syrian Observatory monitored the rise of the death toll a day after another along with the fall of more casualties, where it rose to 376 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 639 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 has 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.

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