New arbitrary arrests by the “Olive Branch” factions against Afrin residents requiring them to pay a “ransom” in exchange for their release, as they continue to claim property of people there
Aleppo Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: violations continue against who remain of Afrin’s residents within their homes and areas, by the Turkish-backed “Olive Branch” Operation factions, who control Afrin area in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo, where the Syrian Observatory learned that factions of “Olive Branch” continue to dismantle the railway in Midan Ikbis town in Afrin countryside, and transport it to be sold in other areas, while other factions continue to cut fruitful and forest trees in Midanki area and villages of Bulbul Township area in Afrin countryside, while the Syrian Observatory learned that the al-Montasir Billah faction continues to blackmail residents of Afrin by arbitrary arrest in exchange for a “ransom,” where the Syrian Observatory monitored the faction arresting more than 6 people from Habbo village of Maabatli Township in the countryside of Afrin under fake pretexts, then the released 3 of them after paying money, while they continue to detain the rest of them until they pay a royalty to the above-mentioned faction, and the Syrian Observatory published yesterday that one day after another, the Turkish goals within the Syrian territory become clear through their forces on the ground accompanied by the Syrian factions loyal to them , especially in Afrin area, which they control over a year ago, where the Turkish procedures are accelerating in order to erase the identity of the area, where -besides the daily violations against the remaining residents of Afrin in their areas of theft, royalties, arrests, and heavy security tightening; the Turkish Forces in the past few days have been building new military headquarters, and building isolation walls in several villages of Afrin, in particular, those in contact with the areas that the regime forces and the Russian Forces are deployed in at the northern countryside of Aleppo, where the Syrian Observatory documented by video the demolition and bulldozing of large number of houses, such as in Jalbal village, where the Turkish Forces have been doing that in the village, they also uprooted hundreds of olive trees as happened in Kimar village 8 km southeast of Afrin.
The villages in which part of the wall is built are the villages of Kimar, an archeological village, located 8 km southeast of Afrin city center, Jalil village 8 km east of Afrin city center, and Mrimin village 7 km northeast of Afrin city center, where the work was suspended after Kurdish forces targeted the machines in the past few days, also the heavy rains that have fallen in the area during the past two days and have prevented them from continuing the construction of the wall, the height of the wall is 3 meters and it will play in the first stage the security belt mission, and would later separate Afrin area from its Syrian surrounding once it has been completed, which is currently being built under the eyes of the Russian Forces, who are now playing the role of protector of Turkish plans north and northwest of Aleppo area, and also in front of the regime forces who cannot say or do anything, at a time when the Kurdish Forces there are under great pressure from Russia in implementation for the Putin – Erdogan agreements.
In addition to the construction of the wall; the Turkish intelligence and its allied Syrian factions have removed the Syrian communications towers from Afrin area and installed Turkish telecom towers instead, where all communication lines have become now under the Turkish surveillance, and the communication with the Syrian interior became more difficult, and the Syrian Observatory published on the 10th of April 2019 that the Turkish Forces and factions of “Olive Branch” which are supported by them; continue to do whatever they please in Afrin city and its countryside after more than a year of controlling it, carrying out various forms of violations on a daily basis against Afrin people and their livelihoods, property, and land, where the Syrian Observatory monitored a new form of the continuous violations, where the Turkish forces brought digging and demolition machines a few days ago to Shirowa Township in the countryside of Afrin city, specifically, Jalbal village, which belongs to the Township, where they began more than 5 days the operations of dredging, destroying, and demolition of houses of villagers from which they were displaced after the Turks and their loyal factions controlled it March 2018, and sources in the area informed the Syrian Observatory that a large number of houses were demolished and destroyed in addition to the school of the village, the village’s hall, and other facilities and buildings there, but until now the intention and Turkish goal behind this demolition was not known, also the Syrian Observatory learned that the Turkish Forces built a separation wall in Jalbal village as well, and the Syrian Observatory published on the 4th of April 2019 that the people of Afrin city and its countryside who preferred to stay in their homes and lands; continue to pay the price of refusing to be displaced away from their area, where barely a day passes without violations by the Turkey-backed factions of “Olive Branch” Operation against the people Afrin and its countryside, such as seizing property, arbitrary arrests, kidnapping, theft and torture, and the Syrian Observatory monitored more of these practices, where the Syrian Observatory learned that members from al-Sultan Murad faction expelled a Kurdish family from their house near Marata roundabout in Afrin city, on the pretext of “not having ownership documents,” while members of the same faction seized another house and a commercial shop owned by a person, under the pretext of “the property’s ownership is registered in the name of his father who resides in Aleppo,” and in Qermetlaq village in the countryside of Afrin city the Syrian Observatory’s sources reported that; al-Sultan Suleiman Shah Faction imposed a royalty on some residents of the village, some is which reached $500 USED per person, without providing any arguments or reasons for that, while gunmen kidnapped the director of a Music Institute and Performing Arts in Jandairis area, and he was taken to an unknown destination, and in Maabatli area; the Syrian Observatory learned that members from al-Montasir Billah faction arrested a man and a woman from Habbo village, and they took them to an unknown destination, but no information about the reasons for the arrest until now.
The Syrian Observatory published yesterday that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that factions of the Operation “Olive Branch” arrested again the member of the Kurdish-Syrian National Council in Afrin city today afternoon, Wednesday the 3rd of April 2019, where he was taken to unknown destination without information so far about the reasons for arresting him, it is noteworthy that the member of the Council was arrested previously in Afrin before being released on bail, and the Syrian Observatory published hours ago, that the Turkish Forces who control Afrin area and lead the “Olive Branch” Operation Forces; are still arresting leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Afrin, Hussain Ibish, who is the president of the Kurdish National Council in Afrin, amid popular dissatisfaction with the process the arrests and hundreds of previous kidnappings and detentions carried out by the Turkish authorities; against citizens residents of Afrin on charges of belonging to the Kurdish forces, communicating with them, and belonging to cells working for them, and the reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that the Turkish Forces are dodging and lying by claiming to be “ridding Afrin area of YPG while arresting people who oppose these units,” and the Syrian Observatory also monitored the arrest of a director of one of the music conservatory in the southwestern countryside of Afrin, on the pretext of belonging to the Kurdish Units, after arresting his father earlier and arresting him several times by the factions controlling Afrin area, while the factions controlling Afrin expelled a family from Afrin city under the pretext of not owning property papers that proves their ownership of the estate, also a man and a woman from a village in the countryside of Maabatli were arrested by factions controlling the area, while an Islamic faction imposed amounts of money reached about $500 USD on citizens from Qarmatl village, but no information about the reasons of the imposed royalty, and as the arrests continue, it rose to about 2680, the number of arrested citizens including more than 1085 people 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.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published on the 29th of March 2019 that Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that the so-called military police in Afrin city, which is controlled by the Turkey-supported factions of “Olive Branch”, arrested 9 teachers including a school principal in al-Ashrafyyeh neighborhood in the city from two adjacent schools, where they were taken to an unknown destination until now, and no information about the reasons of the arrest so far, and the Syrian Observatory published on the 20th of March 2019 that 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.
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.
Forms of violations varied from seizing olive crops, to seizing thousands of olive oil barrels, collecting royalties and taxes, seizing and looting houses, seizing and selling farms, establishing military headquarters and camps in property of citizens, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned from reliable sources that groups operating in “Olive Branch” Operation after controlling Afrin spoke to the Turkish authorities, demanding them to expel the residents of Afrin city and its countryside completely, and to confiscate their property, livelihoods, farms, homes and their contents in full, which was rejected by the Turkish authorities, the sources confirmed that they wanted the same goal but they opposed the method, telling those who wanted this decision that it will bring the international community against them, and push the whole world to intervene in favor of the Kurds inhabitants of the area, and issued their orders to wait, and that the day will come when residents of the area will ask to get out of it, and they will pay to get out of their houses and farms and leave them, which is what happened slowly, as hundreds of families who remained in Afrin have fled as a result of the escalation of violations against them of kidnapping, beatings, assaults, looting, theft, and assaulting women and girls.
Which aroused anger of residents of Afrin and the people who were displaced of it who were prevented by Turkey from returning to their villages and towns, amid a Shameful silence by the world which did not show any action to what Turkey is doing in Afrin area of daily violations against the residents and the civilians.
Intersected sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that a military commander in Rahman Corps (who was displaced from eastern Ghouta) had an agreement with the local council in Afrin city, based on taking an area of a mountainous land located in the area between Basutah and Afrin city by the military commander, based on considering it as a “no-man’s-land” and it is not owned by anyone, and then granting 400 meters to the displaced people of the Eastern Ghouta in exchange of $100. Reliable sources confirmed that the agreement had been reached between both parties, but no displaced person has been handover anything yet.
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 arbitrary control of “Olive Branch” operation factions of 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.
Where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored a complete seizure of Afrin city by the Turkish forces and “Olive Branch” operation factions, where these factions split their areas of control and write phrases on everything being seized to prove their ownership of it, and to prevent the rest of the factions from seizing the same real estate or machine, also they burned olive plantations and property, while violations exceeded the seizure and dividing of property to carrying out daily raids of houses under the pretext of searching for weapons and sleeper cells and other pretexts, they also looted the property of houses of jewelry, money, electronic appliances, even mobile phones and furniture, while the theft moved from private property to public property, where groups of factions working in Afrin area stole electric copper cables in front of the people as well as hospitals and service institutions, while these robberies created internal clashes between rebel and Islamic factions operating in “Olive Branch” operation, which killed and injured tens of members in frequent rounds of bloody fighting, while the Turkish authorities did not engage in any kind of deterrence or pressure, but attempted to resolve disputes that may get completely out of control.
Also, factions in “Olive Branch” operation formed mock courts that request identity papers relating to property ownership in Afrin area in the northwestern sector of Aleppo province, and the sources confirmed that the process of ordering the papers is accompanied by information provided by intersected sources; about the start of preparations by the Corps’ court to return properties inhabited by fighters to their owners, and the sources confirmed that the houses are being seized until proofing the ownership of the house by a paper from the Land Registry in Aleppo that proves the ownership of the house to the plaintiff, even if there were charges of affiliation to the Kurdish forces or Kurdish political parties, where the ownership of the home is returned its owners, but those who cannot prove that, their property are seized and sold at an auction, also the individual arms and personal belongings areas sold in the same way at special auctions, which has aroused widespread dissatisfaction among residents of Afrin who the regime did not grant them access to Aleppo city as displaced people, amid fears that many displaced and remaining families cannot prove their ownership, where the people considered this as a new chapter in the process of restricting to displace the remaining civilians.
Also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring new chapters in the series of the continuous violations practiced by the “Olive Branch” Operation Factions; against the remaining residents of Afrin city and its countryside in the northwest sector of Aleppo province, where the Syrian Observatory learned that members from a brigade working in Afrin area broke into a house near al-Nirouz roundabout in Afrin city, and arrested a Kurdish man with his son and daughter accused them of being “cells of YPG”, where they were taken to an unknown destination, and in the same context, members from al-Hamza brigade seized agricultural land owned by a citizen of Afrin, under the pretext of “he resides in Germany and supports YPG”, where the brother of the landowner, his agent, was expelled and the land that includes hundreds of trees of olives was seized.
The Syrian Observatory published yesterday, Monday, that factions of the “Olive Branch” Operation supported by Turkey continue their violations in Afrin city and its countryside against its remaining people, to steal their lands, arrest, and restrict them. And in a new chapter in the series of violations: “al-Sultan Shah” Brigade -which is part of the “Olive Branch” factions- legalized its thefts of the livelihood of Afrin people through series of resolutions issued and circulated regarding the harvesting of olives in Shih Township in the countryside of Afrin, and these decisions stipulate the imposition of royalties in different proportions on the olive harvest, where residents owners of the agricultural lands in the area were forced to pay 10% of their produce, but in the case of absence of the agricultural landowners in the area their agents act on behalf of them; and higher percentages were determined as follows:
15% of the crop is paid if the agents are first class relatives to the landowners (father, mother, brother, sister).
If the agents are from the area but not related to the landowners, the royalty will be 25% of the total crop production.
35% of the total crop production is paid if the agents are from “supporters” of YPG according to the circulation of the Sultan Shah faction.