Civilian woman abducted in Afrin

In the northern Syrian canton of Afrin, a civilian woman has been kidnapped by jihadists. Since the occupation of the region by Turkey, more than 6000 kidnappings have been recorded.

In the region of Afrin in northwest Syria, occupied by Turkey and allied mercenaries in 2018, people continue to be abducted. According to latest reports, a woman was abducted from the village of Kefersefrê in the district of Jindires. Ayşe Xelîl Kedro was reportedly kidnapped by the "Samarkand Brigades" militia. This jihadist group controlled by Turkey is known for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the fate of Ayşe Xelîl Kedro remains unclear. Since her abduction last weekend, the family has not yet received a ransom demand.

Afrin has been under the occupation of the Turkish state and its mercenary allies for two years now. The attacks of the Turkish state against Afrin began on 20 January 2018 and the invasion of the city was carried out on 18 March 2018. Since the invasion, war crimes have been systematically committed in the region. Almost every day, crimes such as the confiscation of property belonging to local people, kidnapping of civilians for ransom, torture or executions are carried out.

Thousands of people have been kidnapped in the occupied Afrin territory since the invasion began. Most of these civilians were subject to systematic torture and many were brutally executed.

According to Afrin Human Rights Organization figures announced in mid-November, 167 men, 28 women and 32 children have been killed since the launch of Turkey’s invasion attacks against Afrin on 20 January 2018. A further 638 civilians were injured, of whom 87 are children. Afrin Human Rights Organization also documented over six thousand abductions, who again include children. In about 3,300 of these cases, there is currently no information on where the victims are being held or what their condition is like. In many cases, bodies of abductees are found at the roadside. Many of them are marked by torture.

The occupation forces controlled by Ankara use the abductions to extort ransoms. This method has become a lucrative source of income. At least 500 cases of ransom handovers have been reported so far. Turkish-backed militias demand an equivalent of between 3,000 and 100,000 euros, depending on the ability of the victims' relatives to pay.

UN: War crimes and torture in Afrin

Last autumn, the UN Human Rights Council published a report on the situation in Syria, which also describes the devastating human rights situation in Afrin. The Council documented that the overall security conditions in Afrin and adjacent districts remained dire with armed factions having carved up the province into geographic zones of influence.

“As a result there is a general absence of rule of law and repeated incidents of kidnappings, torture, extortion and assassination. Victims were often of Kurdish origin as well as civilians perceived as being prosperous, including doctors, businessmen and merchants,” said the report.