Turkish state steals thousands of artifacts from Afrin

The Turkish state has been digging many historic sites in Afrin with construction equipment. Thousands of artifacts have been stolen and taken to Turkey.

The Turkish state has pillaged through all economic resources in the occupied zones. They have run all resources dry in Afrin and other occupied territories, and are now turning to historic sites and artifacts.


There are 144 registered historic sites in Afrin. One of the favorites in the city, Nebi Huri, was dug up by the Turkish state using heavy construction equipment after the city was invaded. The dig harmed historic artifacts and mosaics in the area.

Turkey has also dug up the Al-Didriyah cave that goes back 100.000 years, and had Neanderthal bones discovered inside. They stole whatever they could from the cave.

The invading Turkish state bombed the Ayn Dara temple, dated back to 1300 BC, with fighter jets in their attacks against Afrin. Most of the temple was destroyed. Turkish soldiers dug up the temple as well afterwards and discovered several historic statues. Videos were made and shared from these illegal digs, showing the great damage done to the statues, with several being broken in two.

The Turkish state continues to smuggle historic artifacts out of Afrin and has also dug up the historic mound to the south of the Jindirese district. The invaders set up a military base on top of the historic mound.


An article by ANHA included comments from Archaeology Directorate Co-chair Hemid Nasir, who said the Turkish state has smuggled over 16.000 artifacts to Turkey and many of them were taken from Afrin. Nasir said many artifacts were sold to Turkey’s museums.


The Turkish state has pillaged 35 historic mounds in various areas of Afrin including Ereb Shexo, al-Didriyah, Zivinge, Ibedan, Sewan, Qurbe, Ster, En Hecere (Eyn Hecer), Kefer Rume, Cumke, Sindiyange, Durumiye and Meydanke. The footage shows Turkish soldiers digging two spots in the historic Der Belut mound in the Jindirese district.

The Marmaron Church, a registered UNESCO site, was also pillaged by invaders. The invaders dug up the Zira ruins between the Elbiske and Tirmisa villages of the Rajo district and stole several historic mosaics. Turkish state allied gangs also dug up the Avraze mound in the Mabata district.


Afrin Canton Archaeology Directorate Co-chair Hemid Nasir said an international committee should be formed to inspect the damage done to the historic sites in the city by the Turkish state. Nasir said they have documented many of the instances of damage.