People of Afrin speak of the tyranny and “the enemy within”

Pressure against Kurds who remained in Afrin after the invasion attacks by Turkish state and their allied gang groups increases every day.Those who were able to leave spoke of the tyranny they endured and the “traitors within” that gave them the most pain

Following the invasion attacks of the Turkish state and their allied Al Qaeda, ISIS and Al Nusra gang groups on Afrin, the Turkish state continues to commit crimes in the city.

On one hand, Turkish state is trying to settle gangs from Eastern Ghouta and various other Syrian provinces to change the demographics of the city as per their agreement with Russia. On the other, they intensify the oppression policies against the people of Afrin who remained in the city.

Î.N.E., who didn’t want to leave his village after the invasion attacks of the Turkish state but had to leave and go to Shehba when the oppression became too much to bear, spoke to the ANF about the practices in the city.

Î.N.E. said the Turkish state and their gangs implemented city-wide curfews and abducted and tortured citizens daily. A woman named N.C. who is still in a village in Afrin said members of parties in the Syrian Kurds National Council (ENKS) took the gangs and Turkish soldiers door to door to file complaints about the people of Afrin.


Î.N.E. said he didn’t want to leave his lands during the invasion and was left alone in his village, but was forced to leave two days ago when the gangs came to interrogate him: “My whole family left, but I didn’t want to abandon my lands and I stayed in the village. They came and interrogated me, they said I had a gun. I told them I didn’t. Then I thought the gangs would not leave me alone, and two days ago we left with a group of people from Afrin. We ran into a gang group on the way. They demanded money, 5.000 Liras each. We didn’t have that kind of money. We gave what we had, they let us go, and we left the village.”


Î.N.E. said the gangs didn’t meddle in much when they first came so they would be accepted, but ater started to interrogate everybody and implemented a curfew after 20.00 every day: “They came and took my brother in the middle of the night. They tortured him, then let him go. They say he broke curfew. We weren’t able to leave the house after 20.00, we couldn’t go anywhere outside of our village.”


Î.N.E. said some Kurds cooperate with the gangs and the Turkish army and inform on the people: “Some people were their informants and spies. For example, they came to our village and said the village chief had weapons. Somebody snitched on the chief. It wasn’t the gangs that hurt us, what hurt most was the traitors within. Because the gangs are already the enemy, they do what enemies do, but the traitors within would hurt so much.”


Î.N.E. said many people were taken prisoner by the gangs and the villagers don’t know where the people were taken. He also said that the people’s properties were confiscated: “They confiscated 22 animals from my nephew. They just came and took the animals. They are looting every village. Some families from Eyn Darê and Basûtê wanted to return home, but the gangs kicked them out. They were not allowed back to their homes.”


N.C. spoke to the ANF via telephone and said the gangs search every house in the village and that the people who accompany the gangs and provide them with information on the villagers are ENKS members. In light of the information provided by ENKS members, the gangs loot and burn the homes of YPG/YPJ fighters and patriotic families, said N.C. and added that the Turkish soldiers accompany the ENKS members during this looting activity and watch them do it.


N.C. said many citizens have been abducted by gangs and the Turkih army and taken to somewhere unknown: “We don’t know where these people were taken. But some say they were taken to Azaz and put on trial there. The gangs now gather the people in village squares and impose their rules upon them. They say they will set up councils in the villages. They act together with the ENKS, those people stand with the gangs as wel.”


N.C. said the Turkish state and the gangs don’t let the people go back home, or demand money from those they do allow. According to N.C., one family from the Basûtê village in Afrin’s Sherawa district was not allowed to return home before they paid 300.000 Syrian Liras. The people are extorted and forced to pay “derîbe” (taxes), and if people fail to pay their property is confiscated.