Five kidnapped in Turkish-occupied Afrin

The Turkish state and allied mercenaries continue committing crimes in the northern Syrian canton of Afrin which they occupied in 2018.

Occupation forces have kidnapped 2 people from Afrin’s Shiye district and 3 others from Jindires district.

According to reports, Îmad Kemal Sado (44), Şiyar Mistefa Sado (20) were abducted from the village of Engele in Shiye district, Mihemed Îbrahîm Mihemed (39) from the village of Hec İskender and Silêman Şewax (42) and Eynayet Arif Bekir (56) from the villlage of Hemam in Jindires district.

Afrin occupied since 2018

Afrin Canton was the westernmost canton of Rojava and North and East Syria, home to 200,000 ethnic Kurds. Though the population was overwhelmingly Kurdish, it was home to diverse religious groups including Yazidis, Alawites and Christians alongside Sunni Muslims.

On 20 January 2018, Turkey launched air strikes on 100 locations in Afrin, as the onset of an invasion they dubbed ‘Operation Olive Branch.’

The Turkish Airforce indiscriminately shelled civilians as well as YPG/YPJ positions, while a ground assault was carried out by factions and militias organised under the umbrella of the Turkish-backed National Army.

By 15 March, Turkish-backed militias had encircled Afrin city and placed it under artillery bombardment. A Turkish airstrike struck the city’s only functioning hospital, killing 16 civilians.

Civilians fled and the SDF retreated, and by 18 March Turkey was in de facto occupation of Afrin. Between 400 and 500 civilians died in the invasion, overwhelmingly as a result of Turkish bombing. Other civilians were summarily executed in the field.

Prior to the Turkish invasion, Afrin had been one of the most peaceful and secure parts of Syria, virtually never seeing combat during the civil war bar occasional skirmishes between YPG/YPJ and jihadi forces on its borders. As a result, Afrin offered peaceful sanctuary to over 300,000 internally displaced people from elsewhere in Syria.