Turkey and ENKS devise a scheme to cover up the invasion in Afrin

In the last two months, invaders have increased kidnapping of residents and ransom demands in Afrin. Some of those kidnapped by the invaders are Kurds who fled to Aleppo and Shehba during the occupation, only to return to Afrin with ENKS propaganda.

For approximately 3.5 years, Afrin has been occupied by the Turkish state and its mercenaries. The Afrin invasion operation and the practices of the invaders that are not any different from ISIS have altered the city's demography. The city, which was 96-98 per cent Kurdish before the occupation, is now 22 per cent Kurdish, according to some sources, and 15 per cent Kurdish, according to others. On the basis of the Turkish state's strategy in the city, the MIT and "National Army" (SNA) gangs carry out systematic massacres, torture, ransom, plunder, and rape.

According to the Syrian Afrin Human Rights Organization, at least 7,810 people have been kidnapped since the start of the invasion operation in Afrin, with the fate of over 3,000 unknown. Although they are Syrian citizens, about 50 Afrin locals were transported to Turkey by the invaders and imprisoned in Turkish prisons. Some were tried in Turkish courts and sentenced to long prison terms.

The kidnapping of civilians by the invaders increased in Afrin after Abdülhekim Bashar, vice president of the Turkish state-led Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolutionaries (SMDK) and member of the ENKS Executive Board, stated that the Turkish state's allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afrin are unfounded.

According to the Syria Afrin Human Rights Association data, 79 people have been kidnapped in the last two months; including 37 in July and 42 in August. Five are women, and one is a 14-year-old girl. So far, only one of the abducted women has been released. However, it was discovered that some of the citizens who were kidnapped and tortured by the invaders in Afrin and who had their money stolen were taken back from Shehba to Afrin by ENKS and gangs.


Afrin Human Rights Association spokesperson İbrahim Şêxo and Afrin lawyer Cebrail Mustafa assessed the role of kidnappings in the demographic change strategy, the recent increase in abduction and torture cases in the city, and the role of ENKS's private war for ANF.

Cebrail Mustafa, who pointed out that locals, particularly Kurds, have been kidnapped by Turkish gangs since Afrin was occupied, stated that the major goal of these kidnappings was not to obtain money or ransom. "The Kurdish genocide campaign implemented by Mustafa Kemal in Northern Kurdistan is now implemented in Afrin," Cebrail Mustafa remarked, stating that the invaders' abductions of Afrin people were carefully planned as part of the Kurdish genocide and the demographic change taking place in the city.

The occupation practices in Afrin are a continuation of the Reform Plan for the East (Şark Islahat Planı). It is a continuation of the demographic change that occurred in Northern Kurdistan during the Republic's early years, as well as in the late 1980s and early 1990s. All of Afrin's historical artifacts have been looted, and its environment and history are being destroyed. In Afrin, four cemeteries of martyrs were demolished, and graves were opened. All of these practices are perpetrated based on demographic change and Kurdish genocide.”


With the invasion operation in Afrin, the Turkish state fulfilled the first leg of its strategy to change the demographics of the city, according to Cebrail Mustafa, who added, "They attacked Afrin with all their heavy weapons, more than 25 thousand mercenaries, thousands of soldiers, and 72 fighter jets. After 58 days of resistance, almost 300,000 Afrin residents were forced to flee the city. Following the city's capture, Kurds were kidnapped, slaughtered, and ransomed, women were raped, and their property was taken and destroyed. Of course, the goal is to compel the Kurds in Afrin to flee.

Many Afrin inhabitants fled their houses and migrated as a result of these practices that followed the occupation. They relocated hundreds of thousands of settlers from various locations such as Idlib, Dera, and other cities. So far, they have constructed more than 16 briquette home camps for these settlers. This is done within the scope of the second part of the demographic transformation plan, which has been implemented with the realization of occupation."


According to Gabriel Mustafa, the Turkish state has employed all inhumane methods against the people of Afrin since the occupation began, and these actions have been documented and exposed in international publications. "International reports and human rights group reports in the areas of the Autonomous Administration have proven that these practices have reached the level of crimes against humanity. These were also mentioned in the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria's report. In other words, no one can condone the Turkish state's barbaric acts in Afrin.

Certain regulations govern prison administration in all states and around the world. However, this is not the case in Afrin. The dungeons in Afrin are torture chambers without any regulations. There are dungeons belonging to several gang groups. In addition to the central prisons in Afrin Marete and Azaz Sico, each gang organization in the villages has built dungeons. They kidnap and torture locals here," Mustafa said.


Mustafa called attention to the fact that after being documented and reported on by both Syrian and international human rights agencies, the city's violent practices were not lessened but were escalated. Mustafa described some of the policies implemented by the Turkish government and its mercenaries to deceive the population while expanding kidnapping and torture: “SMDK and ENKS are carrying out a nasty policy in accordance with the Turkish state's Kurdish genocide and demographic change plan. Nasir Hariri visited Afrin in October 2020 as part of this arrangement.

As a second step, they established the "committee for restoring rights." This committee is made up of people who confiscate and loot the properties and dwellings of Afrin citizens. That is why people are unable to speak out against them. This is a committee whose sole purpose is to fool the people. During the previous era, the SMDK administration returned to Afrin and presented a gift to Ebu Emşa, the commander of the Süleyman Shah Brigade gangs. All of this demonstrates that the Turkish government, SMDK, and ENKS are collaborating to change the demographics of Afrin."


İbrahim Şêxo, spokesman for the Afrin Human Rights Organization, stated that the abductions of civilians by the invaders increased in July and August. Accordingly, some of these people were those who remained in the city despite the occupation, and some of them were those who returned to Afrin from Shehba and Aleppo.

On the basis of Turkish state policy, Şêxo described the special war of ENKS people to draw back some of the people who migrated from Afrin to Shehba due to the occupation and brutal practices of the invaders: "Some of the ENKS members, especially their relatives and themselves, invite the people close to themselves to Afrin. ‘Go back to the lands of your fathers and grandfathers,’ they said to their relatives and acquaintances from the people living in tough conditions in Shehba. ‘You're staying in Shehba's camps. If you do not return, you will spend a long period in Shehba. Return and reclaim your houses and olives. Your house and olives will vanish. No one will bother you if you return’, they say.

They gathered a group of roughly 25 persons to transport people from Shehba to Afrin. Some are in Afrin, while others are abroad. Some of them, I believe, are in Shehba. They are spreading propaganda and organizing crossings to draw people from Shehba to occupied Afrin. Of course, ENKS does not limit itself to meetings and phone calls. In this regard, it also makes use of the press. This month, ENKS's website garnered headlines. These reports included the propaganda, ‘the Autonomous Administration will transport 500 families to Raqqa on the Syria-Iraq border and settle them there. If you do not return to Afrin and instead go to Raqqa, your houses and olive groves will be destroyed’.


Şêxo continued, "On the one hand, they torture, abduct the local people and take their money; they even kidnap and take the money of Kurds and even Arabs who refused to leave Afrin despite the occupation. On the other hand, the Turkish government has returned several Kurds to Afrin with the assistance of ENKS, claiming that ‘the rumours are untrue. Look, they're still going back to Afrin’. They want to send a message that says, 'They accept us’.


Şêxo continued his remarks with the following words: "They bomb Shehba, where approximately 150,000 civilians live, virtually every day. Despite the terrible circumstances, the majority of Afrin residents remained in Shehba and continued their resistance. In Shehba, they retained their self-governance. One of the motives for these policies is to dismantle the opposition in Shehba and to eliminate the Autonomous Administration because they want to escalate their campaign against Shehba by acquitting themselves in the eyes of the international community. Simultaneously, efforts to connect Afrin to Turkey continue. They intend to annex it in the same way as Liwa Iskenderun."

İbrahim Şêxo underlined that some people from Afrin were returned home through special war propaganda from SMDK and ENKS, their money was stolen, and they were tortured again. He added, "They are smugglers on the roads - these are already gangs – and they are getting money. When these displaced people arrive in Afrin, they are kidnapped by gangs, and some of them are released in exchange for money, while some others are not set free. They torment them and steal their money. The money they have recently gotten is not insignificant. We learnt that some of them paid a ransom of $6,000, $7,000, or $8,000 dollars. Those who illegally transport people from Shehba to Afrin are members of Turkish state-affiliated gangs. On their way from Shehba to Afrin, some families were arrested in Qamar, one of Sherewa's seized villages, in early August. They were taken to the Turkish outpost there. The smugglers were from the Faylaq Damascus and Hamza Division gangs. Some were released in return for money, but some were not.”


According to İbrahim Şêxo, the residents were assured that if they returned to Afrin, they would get their houses and olive orchards back, but this was a deceit, and he continued, "In August, the Süleyman Shah gang group arranged a meeting with families in Shiye. They told these people to call the families in Shehba back to Afrin, stating that they would return the homes to those who have returned for a fee of $2,000, and that the homes of those who did not return would be fully destroyed. They established a committee that involved some Suleiman Shah (Emşat) gangs and some members of the Shiye local council established by the invaders.

The invaders took control of many Kurdish homes in Afrin. They devised an organization named the ‘Committee for the Restoration of Rights’ to fool the people. 'Come and take your houses back,' they tell the Kurds in Shehba. They do not, however, return the houses and properties that they have plundered from the people. Rıdwan Abdurrahman, for example, remained in Afrin despite the occupation. His residence was seized. He applied to this committee, and he regained possession of his home. But as soon as he got it back, he was assassinated by Hamza Brigades gangs in the Mezin village in Afrin's Mabeta district. People sorely miss Afrin. Some of our people are returning to Afrin with this misinformation in order to save their homes and olive orchards and reclaim their lands. Torture, persecution, and ISIS practices continue unabated on the basis of Kurdish genocide. Those who have returned are subjected to this persecution once more."