The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Afrin in March: coercive selling of civilian houses .. imposing of levies .. looting and thefts .. kidnapping and arbitrary arrest, Turkish-backed factions wreak havoc in Afrin canton

Since Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies captured Afrin city and countryside more than two years ago, Turkish-backed factions have practiced almost all kinds of atrocities with full Turkish consent against Afrin’s people who stayed in the area and refused to flee or those who have been displaced and whose properties have been seized and looted.

As a part of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ monitoring and tracking of violations in Afrin canton, SOHR activists documented tens of violations in March 2020, from kidnapping and arrests to looting and thefts.

According to SOHR statistics, Turkish-backed factions kidnapped and arrested nearly 43 civilians from different areas in Afrin city, Jendires, Sharran, Maabatli and other places in the region. Some of those arrested or kidnapped people have been released, while most of them are still in the rebel factions’ prisons on various accusations and charges, most prominent of which is “communicating with the Kurdish Units”.

In early March, Turkish government gave the rebel factions in the area the green light to sell Kurdish property at nominal prices. According to reliable SOHR sources, Turkish-backed factions of the “Syrian National Army” are selling the houses of displaced Kurds who were forced to flee the Turkish military operations in their areas. A two-storey house is being sold at a price ranging from $3,000 to $5,000.

“The Turkish-backed factions in Afrin city are wreaking havoc in the area, and have recently begun selling or renting houses and shops as if there were their own properties” SOHR sources added.

Meanwhile, “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah” faction imposed new levies after marking and numbering the shops in Maabatli township in Afrin countryside, in order to collect monthly taxes.

Other members of the same faction used heavy diggers and earth-moving machineries for digging and excavating archaeological sites between Shitka and Kakhrah villages in Maabatli township, searching for antiquities.

These violations come as a part of a systematic policy that Turkish-backed factions practice against the remaining people in Afrin, especially the Kurds who fear getting out of their houses, particularly in the evening in order not to be kidnapped or arrested under fabricated pretexts.