SOHR: Turkish-backed militiamen assault humanitarian organization’s staff in occupied Afrin
Turkish-backed factions occupying the northwestern Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin assaulted employees of a humanitarian relief organization, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor reported on Tuesday.
Citing activists, SOHR said that the Turkish-backed Syrian al-Mu’tassim Division assaulted staff belonging to an unnamed local organization in the villages of Jumaka and Staru, located in Afrin’s countryside.
Furthermore, they attacked cars belonging to the organization’s envoy and hurled insults at other organization members. The incident transpired after staff from that organization had “rejected conditions imposed by the group to share the relief assistance with Afrin residents.”
Four days earlier, on September 16, another Turkish-backed militia faction, al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah, arrested a young man as he was on his way to Afrin city. They took the man to the neighboring town of Azaz, also occupied by Turkey and its militia proxies, and detained him for ransom. The militiamen demanded his parents pay them 20 million Syrian Pounds, SYL, (approximately $16,000) in return for his release.
The Sultan Murad group also arrested a civilian who they charged with “collaborating with the Autonomous Administration.” They demanded a comparably paltry 400,000 SYL (about $300) for his release.
In addition to these kidnappings for ransom and abuses of civilians, SOHR has also documented these groups selling houses that belong to Kurds who were displaced by the Turkish invasion. One member of the so-called al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah, for example, sold a Kurdish man’s house he did not own in the al-Ashrafiyah neighborhood for $1,400.
SOHR also documented a case whereby a member of the al-Hamza Division “took over a house of a civilian by forces, despite filing official complaints by the house’s owner at the ‘Rights Restitution Committee’.”