MIT and Barzanis' plans to legitimize the invasion of Afrin

The Barzanis and MIT are working within the context of their intentions to legitimize the invasion of Afrin in order to mask the Turkish state's involvement for genocide and crimes against humanity in Afrin.

Four years have passed since the Turkish state and SNA gangs entered Afrin. The Turkish state and its mercenaries committed several crimes against humanity in Afrin during this process, including executions, murders, kidnappings, and rapes. In 2021, Afrin, which was occupied by the Turkish state, was in the center of the games between the Barzanis, ENKS, and the Turkish state.

In December 2021, the "Civil Council of Afrin," a group of Afrin Kurds who dubbed themselves the "representatives of the people of Afrin," was brought to Hewler from Europe to meet with Barzani and ENKS. Then they held a meeting in Hewlêr, attended by other Afrin residents. On March 18, 2018, when the statue of Kawa the Ironsimith was demolished by the SNA gangs that invaded Afrin, they attended the "Afrin Liberation Congress" organized by MIT in Antep. It came out that MIT was also involved in the attempts of those in this group in Hewlêr.

"The MIT wanted us to go to Barzani and establish ourselves as Afrin representatives by opening an office in Hewler," said a source who did not want to be identified for security reasons.


The background of İbrahim Koriş, who was chosen as the group's media face, demonstrates that the group's goal was to oppose the Rojava Revolution and legitimize the occupation of Afrin. Since 2011, ENKS, led by Turkey and the Barzanis, has collaborated with FSA groups led by the Turkish state. In 2013, it officially joined the Syrian National Coalition gangs controlled by Turkey. In the first attacks in 2012 against Kurdish areas in Aleppo, Ashrafiyah and Sheikh Maqsoud, gang organizations linked with ENKS like Azadi and Salahaddin, as well as Arab gang groups, took part.

On July 4, 2012, shortly before the commencement of the revolution, the first martyr of Afrin, Çekdar, was tortured to death by a family linked with the Azadi gangs.

Kurdish gang groups linked with ENKS took part in the Kurdish massacres carried out in the Aleppo towns of Til Eran and Til Hasil on July 27-31, 2013 by 21 gang factions such as ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar Sham and other groups operating under Turkish command. However, as the revolution grew despite all types of attacks and the incarnation of the democratic nation with the democratic self-government, ENKS members who were ineffective in Rojava conducted anti-Rojava Revolution diplomacy with European countries, Russia, Qatar, the United States, under the wings of Barzanis. With their diplomacy, ENKS members played a major role in Turkey's invasion of Afrin.

During the YPG-YPJ operation against ISIS in Tel Hemis and Tel Beraq in January 2014, these ENKS-like gangs associated with the KDP attacked YPG and YPJ forces. Bewar Mustafa, a former officer in the Syrian army who was in charge of the Azadi organization at the time, declared this in a statement. ENKS was also involved in the Turkish state's occupation of Afrin. Six ENKS-affiliated gang groups joined the Afrin invasion operation as the "Samarkand Brigade” within the SNA gangs. Later, ENKS officials announced that four armed organizations were fighting against the YPG-YPJ in Afrin.


The MIT had its collaborators organize a conference in Antep on the day when the Afrin city center was taken by Turkish state mercenaries and 300,000 people were forced to flee. On March 18, 2018, MIT hosted an occupation congress called the "Afrin Liberation Congress" in Antep, bringing together ENKS affiliated people. A 30-person counter organization known as the "Afrin Local Council" was formed here. Hasan Shindi of ENKS, who has been in communication with MIT since 2011 and who coordinated and authorized the two Afrin bombings in 2013, was named as its spokesperson.

Although the ENKS members initially tried to conceal their association with this congress, they eventually admitted it indirectly. Fuat Aliko stated on Rudaw TV at the end of March that "We signed an agreement with Turkey. Afrin people will govern the city from now on." 

With Hasan Shindi's remarks at the end of March 2018 that Afrin would be connected to the Hatay Governorate and that the language of teaching should be Arabic rather than Kurdish, it became evident once more that ENKS's true objective was to connect Afrin to Kurdish Turkey.


Although the members of the so-called council, which was formed from Afrin collaborators of the invading Turkish state and founded in Antep, moved to Afrin following the occupation, they were unable to stay long. Some fled to Europe and Southern Kurdistan due to the pressure of some gang groups, while others were unable to benefit from the economic denominator of the occupation promised by the Turkish state. Hasan Shindi was one of them. Depending on this organization, Hasan Shindi continues to carry out black propaganda and diplomacy in the Netherlands against the autonomous administration. Many other occupation council members continued to organize in Germany and Switzerland.

In August 2018, this group met in Europe pretending to protect the rights of Kurds in Afrin against gangs, and it continued the mission assigned by the MIT as if it were the Kurds' representative in Afrin. Only a few of the individuals who participated in the so-called Afrin Council established at the Antep congress stayed in Afrin. In fact, the Governor of Hatay and MIT administer Afrin. Occupation groups known as "local councils" associated with SMDK (National Coalition for the Syrian opposition and the Revolutionary Forces) were formed in April 2018 in order to spread propaganda claiming that all of the city's facilities were shared with the public while they were indeed looted.

Said Osman, who participated in the Antep occupation congress and council, was appointed head of the "Afrin Local Council." "There is a smell of freedom in Afrin," said Osman, who performed his role by regularly spreading propaganda through the mainstream Turkish media. Despite this propaganda, even the ENKS masses in Afrin, as well as some ENKS Kurds who participated in occupation formations known as "local councils," were tortured by the invaders. Many ENKS members were forced to flee the city. Sekwan Hesen and Bangin, members of the "Afrin Local Council," were arrested in December 2019. Some ENKS members who remained in town were tasked with denouncing the patriotic Kurds. Despite all of Fuat Aliko's assertions in March 2018, ENKS members were not even allowed to open an office in the city during the four years of Afrin occupation.


Despite cooperating with the invader, ENKS was unable to do anything and continued to cooperate. Although the Barzanis control the majority of the ENKS, until 2021, the Barzanis decided to remain behind the scenes regarding the occupation of Afrin in order to avoid inciting more outrage from the Kurdish population.

Between the commencement of the Afrin invasion operation on January 20, 2018 and the conclusion of 2020, the invaders killed at least 637 civilians and kidnapped 7,800. The invaders significantly altered the city's demography. However, 2021 was a year in which the Barzanis and ENKS attempted to legitimize Turkish invasion in both Afrin and Southern Kurdistan, as well as to disband the Shehba Resistance. On March 3, 2021, Nasr Hariri, the political chief of the SNA gangs associated with the Turkish state-controlled SMDK, arrived in Hewler (Erbil) and was greeted by Masoud Barzani. In Federal Kurdistan, he met with Mesut Barzani. The delegation also included ENKS officials. Following his meeting with Barzani, Hariri stated in the Federal Kurdistan Parliament that "Afrin, Serêkanîyê, and Gire Spi were freed from terrorists."

According to some sources who spoke to ANF about the meeting, talks were held for ENKS to open an office in Afrin, to hold Newroz celebrations, and to displace the Afrin residents who continue to resist in Shehba to Southern Kurdistan and Afrin. While the crimes against humanity committed by the Turkish state and SNA mercenaries in Afrin were documented in several international reports, Barzani's reception of Hariri and the blaming of Afrin residents and the Rojava Revolution caused strong reactions from the Kurdish public. Because of these reactions, as well as the opposition of some gang groups, ENKS's proposal to open an office was halted or postponed.


Some time after the Barzani-Hariri talks, it came out that some people from Afrin and ENKS under MIT guidance were calling the inhabitants of Afrin in Shehba one by one and trying to escort them back to the city. The execution of this work was directly coordinated by MIT officer Ali Sino from Afrin. Abdülhekim Bashar, SMDK Vice President and ENKS Executive Board member, spoke to ARK TV, which is owned by KDP members, employs several MIT members and broadcasts in Duhok, and asserted that claims of crimes against humanity in Afrin are false. "The autonomous administration is lying, there is no problem in Afrin," stated ENKS official Bashar. Following Abdülhekim Bashar, several ENKS officers and persons, who participated in the occupying formation established in Antep and are now carrying out their tasks across Europe, made similar claims.

Syria Afrin Human Rights Organization spokesperson İbrahim Şêxo told our agency that MIT and ENKS tried to persuade the people of Afrin to live under occupation in order to dissolve the Shehba resistance and the autonomous administration there. He also reported that many people who were transferred from Shehba to Afrin were subjected to torture and ransom practices by the gangs again.


On December 12, a delegation calling itself "Representatives of Afrin People" and "Afrin Civil Council" traveled from Europe to meet with Masoud Barzani and ENKS members in Southern Kurdistan. While Fevzi Qedur, Bengin Elo, İbrahim Koriş, Ferid Rewşid, and Berxwedan Mustafa were present in the European group, ENKS administrators Abdülhekim Beşar, İbrahim Büro, Nimed Davud, Faysal Yusuf, Şelal Gedo, and İsmail Hesaf were also present.

According to a source who did not want to be identified, Masoud Barzani advised the group, practically all of whom are former ENKS members or are intimately related to ENKS; "Do not connect yourself to any political group or party. ENKS is already the representative of the people in Rojava.” Abdulhakim Bashar and İbrahim Büro proposed at the meeting that this group officially join the ENKS and that the people of Afrin gather within this framework.

According to our source, Feysal Yusuf and Nimed Dawut responded to the proposals of Abdulkerim Bashar and the Bureau by saying, "Relations with the Turkish state and the opposition should be kept under wraps. It would be more suitable so that their function in ENKS is not diminished.”

A person from Europe involved in this structure stated that the MIT sent this delegation to Barzani with the goal of meeting with Barzani and gaining some legitimacy among the Kurds. “An office will be established in Hewler, and additional financial resources will be made available. As a result, the Kurds of Afrin will organise more closely around this group," he said.

Following the meetings with Barzanî and ENKS, the group conducted a meeting in Hewler with 100 individuals in attendance. Speaking to KDP and MIT media like Rudaw, Ark News, İbrahim Koriş, Bengin Eli, and others, participants from the group said that the Hewler gathering was a continuation of the so-called "Afrin Liberation Congress" conducted in Antep on March 18, 2018.


Following these meetings, Ibrahim Koriş, who was highlighted in the KDP and MIT media, revealed the formation's goals to Rudaw and Ark TV. Koriş revealed in almost all of his assessments that, like the Barzanis, they have no problem with Turkey or the occupation. He accused the Afrin Liberation Forces (HRE), formed by the people of Afrin following the occupation, of causing damage to the city. "We do not want a war. We want Barzani to help us with diplomacy," he said, adding that one of the formation's key goals is to build self-government and diplomacy against the resistance.

Ibrahim Koriş is said to have come to the fore when Hasan Shindi, who was elected as the spokesperson of the occupation council established in Antep on the day Afrin was invaded, was overexposed in the Kurdish media. But Ibrahim Koriş’s past and present posture is as gloomy as Hasan Shindi’s.

Koriş, who was born in the Cholaqa village of Jindires, Afrin in 1992, was a member of the "Kurdistan Youth Movement" linked with the Barzanis when the Syrian Revolution began in 2011. He was a member of the Azadi Party, which was linked with ENKS at the time. He was linked to Nureddin Zenki of the FSA and the Azadi gangs of the ENKS. Afrin joined the ENKS members that formed the Roj Peshmerga in Rojava in 2012. He had ties to a number of FSA factions as well as Jabhat al-Nusra. In 2014, he relocated to Southern Kurdistan and got MIT training under the Roj Peshmerga. When he returned to Afrin at the end of 2014, he was briefly detained by Rojava Asayish because of his ties to the MIT and gangs, and he was removed from the city. İbrahim Koriş, who came to Turkey from Afrin and still has contacts with the MIT here, was also transported to Europe from Turkey.

Koriş, who also attended the March 18, 2018 conference in Antep, has relations with the state of Qatar, which offers political and financial backing for Turkey's occupation of Afrin and the demographic change in Afrin. İbrahim Koriş, a committed foe of the Rojava Revolution, has a sibling in Qatar.


As the year 2021 comes to a close, human rights organizations released their reports on violations in Afrin. At least 8,455 persons were kidnapped throughout the 4-year occupation period in Afrin as of the first week of December 2021, and the destiny of half of them remains unclear. In four years, the invaders killed at least 486 civilians in Afrin. Kurds make about 15-22 percent of the population in Afrin, which had a population of around 500 thousand before the invasion, while the invaders brought 400-500 thousand Salafi settlers with them. The Turkish state and its mercenaries bomb Shehba, where over 100,000 Afrin residents live, virtually every day.

ENKS and MIT also intend to disperse the Afrin inhabitants' organization and resistance in Shehba. Given the Barzanis' open involvement in 2021, the conflict over Afrin and the special war against the Afrin people will intensify in 2022. The Federal Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s remarks that, "The Turkish state only has a problem with the PKK," shortly after the start of the Avaşîn, Metina, and Zap invasion operation in April 2021, also demonstrated that the Barzanis support the Afrin invasion model throughout Kurdistan.

The Turkish state will try to fix its damaged image by enlisting the assistance of gangs controlled by the Barzanis and blaming the SNA gangs for everything. In four years, the Turkish state established numerous institutions in Afrin, and Kurdish is banned. The Turkish state intends to conquer Afrin by making use of the international silence.

At this time, Kurdish public opinion, their sympathizers, and democratic forces should all support the liberation of Afrin from occupation. The reality of Afrin is not the problem of the Kurds alone. Today, Afrin has become the focal point for all terrorist and extremist groups, posing a threat to humanity.