Exclusive | SOHR highlights Ankara-backed factions’ prisons in Afrin area, north-west of Aleppo
Aleppo Governorate – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:
Since Turkish forces, backed by proxy military factions, took control of Afrin area in north-western Aleppo countryside in March 2018, Ankara-backed factions committed various types of inhuman violations against indigenous people and displaced people to the areas of Afrin from various Syrian provinces.
These violations included systematic theft of civilian property, including houses, shops and agricultural land, in full view of the Turkish forces deployed within their military bases and headquarters in the city of Afrin and its affiliated areas.
The violations were not limited to the theft of civilian property, as Turkish-backed factions clamped down on Kurdish civilians in particular, arresting thousands of people, since they took control of the area, sometimes on charges for previously working within the institutions of the “Self-Administration”, and sometimes for communicating with leaders and members of the Kurdish forces.
In most of the cases, Turkish-backed factions arrest people for ransom in return for their release, after practicing the worst forms of psychological and physical torture against them in their secret prisons they have established in various areas in Afrin.
SOHR has monitored 20 prisons belonging to Turkish-backed factions, they are as follows:
1- “Al-Muwasalat prison” in the city of Afrin, run by the “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya” under the supervision of Syrian security agents defected from the Syrian regime, where civilians are being arrested from the city of Afrin and imprisoned in this prison before being transferred to the main prison of the faction, known as “Al-Ma’asra” prison in the area of Sajo in Azaz countryside.
2- “Al-Barad prison” in the city of Afrin, also run by “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya”, and is housing kidnapped civilians from the city of Afrin and surrounding villages, especially women, where prisoners are subjected to various methods of physical and psychological torture.
3- “Al-Karama school prison” in Afrin, al-Karama school is one of the oldest schools in Afrin, which was turned by the “Al-Sham Corps” faction into a prison, where prisoners are subjected to various methods of torture and contains a special wing for women.
4- “The Court prison” in the city of Afrin, located in the old building of the court, and is dedicated to kidnapped women from various areas in Afrin. The prison is run by members of “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya.”
5- “Taranda prison” in the city of Afrin, run by agents of the Turkish intelligence and is one of the most dangerous secret prisons, where all methods of physical and psychological torture are practiced.
6- “Azhar Afrin prison” in the city of Afrin, run by the “Ahrar Al-Sharqiya” faction with agents of the Turkish intelligence, most of its inmates are from Afrin and the villages surrounding the city.
7- “Al-Itihad Al-Arabi school prison” in Afrin, also run by “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya” militants and contains a women’s wing, which was later turned into a military headquarters.
8- “Ashrafieh prison” in Afrin city, located in one of the old abandoned houses run by an armed group “gang of thieves” led by a person, and contains four rooms, including two for detainees of up to approximately 50-60 individuals.
9- “Al-Mahmoudiya prison” in Afrin city, run by the “al-Hamza Division” and hosts dozens of detainees. There are two rooms for women inside the prison.
10- “Villas Street prison” in Afrin, located in one of the abandoned houses and run by the militants of “Ahrar Al-Sharqiya.”
11- The “Amir al-Ghabari School prison” in Afrin, run by Turkish intelligence” agents in coordination with a number of leaders of the Turkish-backed armed factions. This prison is housing people who were working or collaborating with the “Self-Administration” during its control of the region.
12- “Al-Basuta prison” near the city of Afrin, also known as “Citadel prison” and supervised by the leaders of the “al-Hamza Division.”
13- “Khariba prison” in Sharan district, formerly run by Sultan Murad gunmen, and later was turned into a prison run by the “military police.”
14- “Kafr Janeh prison” in Sharan district, supervised by “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiya” militants.
15- “Shangela village prison” in Bulbul district. The prison is located in the home of a civilian, and is run by the “Al-Hamza Division.”
16- “The prison of Midan Akbis” in Raju district, and is run by members of the “al-Sham Corps” under the supervision of Turkish intelligence agents. It was built near the Syrian-Turkish border, and can accommodate approximately 350-400 detainees; the prison consists of ten closed rooms with small internal air vents, in which all possible methods of torture are used. The detainees are transferred from this prison into Turkish territory, after conducting preliminary investigations.
17- “Station prison” in Raju district, and named so as being located within the train station. Supervised and managed by “Ahrar Al-Sharqiya”, most of its inmates are residents from the district and the villages of Ma’abatli district, and is known as one of the worst prisons in terms of its supervisors.
18- “Curran prison” in Raju district, a small prison located in a house on the outskirts of the village, supervised by the “al-Sham Corps”, most of its inmates are residents from the village and surrounding villages.
19- “Shih prison” in the district of Sheikh Hadid, run by a faction called “Suleiman Shah”, known as Abu Amsha prison, and it was named after the faction leader.
20- The “Qarmatlaq prison” in Sheikh Hadid district, is also run by the Sulaiman Shah faction and is located in the faction’s security headquarters.