المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

The ongoing tragedy in Afrin…continued looting amid catastrophic humanitarian situation…trade in arrests and lives…burning hundreds of trees and farms and imposing royalties…assassinations against the fighters of the “Olive Branch”

Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is continuing to monitor the violations, arrests and assaults against the residents of Afrin area, of who remained under the oppression of the Turkish guns and the whip of the factions under the Turkish command, after they took the control of Afrin area in March 2018, after a wide-scale military operation led by the Turkish forces with the participation of a large number of the Turkish-backed rebel and Islamic factions, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored in the last 10 days, the escalated pace of violations against the residents of Afrin area, as well as abusing them, where factions operating in Afrin city and in villages in its countryside, are continuing to trade in citizens through arresting them then they are taken to their headquarters where they are beating hard and tortured, then the factions impose a sum of money in return for setting the detainees free, while local sources confirmed to the SOHR that they are released only after paying sums of money, and in some cases, the civilian detainees are killed as a result of the shocking torture, or the inability of their families to ensure the sum of money requested for releasing them, by the factions of the “Olive Branch” Operation, the last of which was the killing of a citizen and the torture of his brother after raiding their house and thieving their property of gold and money, where one of them was taken and then released after thieving the property of the detained person and his brother, then he died as a result of being unable to be treated due to the savage beating he subjected to.

In the same context, reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that the faction of Ahrar al-Sharqiyyah Gathering, has resettled more than 20 young men of the displaced people of the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, in houses in Raju town, where the young men were former fighters in Al-Rahman Corps, and they were resettled by the Gathering after being recruited in its ranks in Afrin area, along with seizing more property of the citizens of agricultural lands, farms, houses, vehicles and other property by members and fighters of these factions, where some of immovable properties are being completely seized, while the movable properties are being seized, of furniture, vehicles, jewelry, and electronic devices, while locals confirmed the SOHR that fighters of some factions have ignited the property of citizens as a revenge against some of them, and as a response for citizens’ refusal to pay royalties for the factions which are located in their controlled areas in the vicinity of Afrin city and the areas of Bulbula, Raju, Sharra, Shirawa, Jendires, Maabatli and Meidan Ekbis, where the factions sat on fire in hundreds of fruitful olive trees, and farms which raged the resentment of the residents in which the Turkish forces which claimed that they came to “liberate” them, became the perpetrator of violations and allow them to be carried out without deterring any faction, where reliable sources informed the Syrian Observatory that some residents became afraid of moving in Afrin countryside, for fear of being arrested or assaulted by the factions, which turned the roads to Afrin and the widespread checkpoints, into sources for funding themselves by looting and robbing the passengers.

The looting, arrests and killing were met, as a response, by assassinations against members and fighters of the factions operating within the Operation “Olive Branch”, where assassinations were carried out by cells and members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), where most of the operations were carried out by direct gunfire and setting up ambushes, and the SOHR monitored in the past 10 days, the death of more than 5 fighters, last of which was yesterday through shooting them by these members, while the forces of the Operation “Olive Branch” carried out sweeping operations in areas in Afrin in search for these cells, and they arrested several people and took them to their headquarters on charge of “operating as sleeper cells of the Kurdish forces”, where the SOHR monitored about 90 attacks by members and groups of the Kurdish forces, against the Turkish forces and the Syrian opposition factions, through detonating landmines and IEDs and targeting by missiles using shoulder-fired launchers, which resulted in the death of tens of fighters of the factions and the Turkish forces during targeting operations whose pace escalated in the past 2 months, and resulted in the fall of casualties and wounded in the ranks of the both parties, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented the rise of number of casualties as a result of the continuation of these groups of the YPG to carry out targeting operation against the Turkish forces and the factions in Afrin area, where it rose to at least 1539, the number of fighters of the YPG and the Self-Defense forces who have been killed since the start of the Operation “Olive Branch”, while it rose to 602, the number of members of the Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions including 83 soldiers of the Turkish forces, who were killed in the clashes against the Kurdish Units in Afrin area and in the targeting they have been subjected to.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored fighting between factions operating in Operation “Olive Branch”, which are in control of Afrin city, as a result of disagreements on houses and checkpoints in the city, after these factions shared control inside Afrin city and in its countryside, and the Syrian Observatory published weeks ago, that displaced families in the northern countryside of Aleppo were able to return to Afrin area, after being allowed by the checkpoints of factions and the Turkish Forces to return to the area, sources told the Syrian Observatory that the numbers of returnees is considered too small compared to hundreds of thousands of who have been displaced from Afrin and its countryside, and the returning families are being subjected to investigation about the existence of family members who are enrolled in the Self-Defense duty, and whether they were joined voluntarily or are forced to do so, as well as their partisan and political connection with the Democratic Union Party and Kurdish Forces, while reliable sources told the Syrian Observatory that some of the citizens who tried to return to Afrin in the past days were shot by members on a checkpoint of the Kurdish Units, which killed a young man and information about other wounded people, where that shooting took place during a demonstration called for the open of road to for them to return to their homes in Afrin area.

While it noteworthy that, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored the arrival of largest part of the displaced people from the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus, the south of the capital, the Eastern Qalamoun, and both northern countryside of Homs and southern countryside of Hama, to Afrin area, from which hundreds of thousands of its people have been displaced by “Olive Branch” operation, and tens of thousands of them have been resettled in houses of civilian and farms, and in camps in the southwestern countryside of Afrin, while the other part remained in the northern countryside of Aleppo and in Idlib Province, where some of them refused to be settled by the Turkish authorities and the factions in Afrin area, they also refused to live in homes where its people have been displaced, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored over the past few days that the Turkish authorities resettled the displaced people of the Eastern Qalamoun and the Eastern Ghouta in Afrin area, after displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians out of it, by the military operation carried out by the Turkish Forces and the Syrian rebel and Islamic factions of the “Olive Branch” Operation, which was launched on the 20th of January 2018 until the 18th of March of the same year, where they completed on Sunday the 29th of April 2018, 6 weeks of controlling the entire area of Afrin, after an intense aerial and ground bombardment that left some 300 civilian casualties in addition to hundreds of wounded and also destroyed property of civilians, public facilities and infrastructure in the villages and towns of Afrin area and Afrin city, the SOHR also monitored the Turkish authorities operating in Afrin area taking the data of people entering Afrin area, particularly the displaced people of the Eastern Ghouta, where their fingerprints and eye prints of the inhabitants of the area are recorded, as well as the full information about them, amid strict procedures for those entering and exiting the area, in addition to stopping and inspecting inhabitants of the area and those who remained and refused to get out of it, where they were searched, scrutinized and interrogated during their movement on the checkpoints of Afrin areas.

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