المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Demographic change | Turkish-backed local council opens new village on land owned by Yazidis in Afrin’s Shirawa

Aleppo province: SOHR sources have reported that the Local Council in Afrin city opened a new village dubbed “Kuwait al-Rahma”, on August 30, with the aim for inhabiting displaced people from various areas across Syria.

 

This development comes as a part of the Turkish government’s efforts to accomplish the demographic change in Afrin canton through allowing and supporting civil organizations and bodies to structure residential units in the towns and villages whose indigenous residents were displaced, after their houses had been destroyed due to the “Olive Branch” Operation in the villages and towns of Afrin.

 

The recently-established village, “Kuwait al-Rahma”, is located between Qibar and al-Khalidiyyah villages in Shirawa district in Afrin countryside, while the land where the residential units were established belonged to Yazidi civilians. The village, which has been established by a Kuwaiti-Palestinian association known as “Sham al-Khair” with the participation of some Turkish organizations operating in north Syria region, also accommodates nearly 380 residential units, a mosque, a school, a dispensary, a Koranic institute and a shopping mall.

 

It is worth noting that al-Khalidiyah village, which the recent residential units has been established in, is one of the villages of  Shirawa district, and it is located on the top of Lelon mountain. The village is surrounded by several villages, including Maryamin to the east and Qibar to the west.

 

The village had been destroyed completely by Turkish fighter jets in January 2018, while its inhabitants whose number approximated 100 people who lived in nearly 20 houses were displaced at that time during the “Olive Branch” Operation. The village’s inhabitants had relied on agriculture and animal husbandry before their village was turned into ruins.

 

In May, SOHR sources reported that charities and organizations were working on building residential units for displaced persons in north-western Syria. Despite the positive side of these construction operations, they were considered a part of “demographic change” in the region by these charitable associations which were clearly supported by the Turks.

 

In this context, the Syrian Observatory activists reported that a charity called “Basma” was working on building a residential village in Shadir village in Sherawa countryside (Jabal Laylon) in Afrin countryside.

 

The association aimed to build 12 residential units consisting of 144 apartments in the first phase for the resettlement of families affiliated with pro-Turkey factions, particularly “Turkmen”.

 

The new village was built with support by the Kuwaiti-backed association of the “White Hands”, and it included the building of three-story-style apartments with each floor containing four apartments, in addition to building a mosque and a health center. The project also provides a drinking water, electricity, road and sewage networks.

 

It is worth noting that Afrin region is witnessing a significant presence of associations and organizations that build residential units for the displaced persons, while camps in Idlib are still covering large spaces of the province.

 

According to SOHR statistics, more than 270,000 people of the families belonging to factions loyal to Ankara, and the displaced persons from the countryside of Damascus, Rif Dimashq, Hama, Homs, Idlib, and western Aleppo, based on Turkish-Russian brokered deals, have been settled in houses and properties seized from their real owners in Afrin, while others have been settled in camps and makeshift camps near the city of Afrin, Muhammadiyah village in Jindires, Afraz village in Maabataly, cities of Rajo and Bulbul, villages of Kafr Janah Deir Sawwan.

 

Recently, the Turkish forces and factions have started the establishment of seven model villages for settling those displaced people coming from other provinces in light of the demographic change plans. The new villages are built by Turkish organizations, like the Disaster And Emergency Management (AFAD) and other Gulf countries. These villages are located in southern Shadirrah village, Sheikh Mohammed Mountain northern Kafr Safrah- Jindires, Ligah area between the two villages of Karmatlaq and Jiqla Tahtani, Shie/Shiekh al-Hadid near the hospital, and another mountainous site near the village of Hag Hasna- Jindires, and another site near the village of “Khalta”-Shirawa).

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