Four years ago, Turkey launched its attacks on Afrin

On 20 January 2018, the Turkish occupation state launched its attacks on the city of Afrin, using 72 warplanes, targeting more than 185 service, civilian, medical and military sites.

On 20 January 2018, the Turkish state launched its attacks on the city of Afrin, using 72 warplanes, targeting more than 185 service, civilian, medical and military sites.

The aerial attacks were soon followed by ground attacks led by mercenaries of the so called National Army that was formed with the help of Turkey in 2017. 

Russia and Turkey had reached an agreement in Astana, which included the withdrawal of mercenaries linked to the Turkish occupation state from Ghouta. In exchange, Russia opened the air for Turkey to launch attacks on Afrin, which had a population of nearly 350 thousand people. 

In less than 20 days, Turkey and its mercenaries were responsible for 5 massacres against the people of Afrin. The first was on 20 January, when the attacks targeted an area south of the city of Afrin, as a result of which a child and about 20 workers were killed. The second was in the village of Jalabra in the Sherawa district on 21 January. Here, 10 civilians were killed, and 12 others wounded.

The third attack occurred on 26 January, in the center of Mobata district. 6 civilians died. The fourth attack was on 28 January and targeted the village of Kobla, in Sherawa district. 8 people were killed, 7 wounded and 10 missing. The fifth attack was on 9 February and targeted the village of Shakta in Shia district. 7 people were killed.

Attacks intensified because of international silence

The Turkish attacks intensified as a result of the international silence. The Turkish occupation army also targeted Avrin Hospital on 16 March 2018, killing more than 16 civilians, including wounded children, who were receiving treatment.

Hundreds of thousands of Afrin people were displaced as a result of the violent Turkish attacks and fled towards the al-Shahba areas.

Forced displacement and settlement after the occupation

After the occupation of the city of Afrin, on 18 March 2018, most citizens were forcibly displaced and Turkey and its mercenaries imposed a policy of terror against the few who remained in their homes. Unjust laws were imposed against the people of Afrin, wearing the Niqab became compulsory for women and kidnapping and torture of civilians, rape of women, seizure of civilians’ property, looting and destruction of archaeological sites, became the 'daily normality'.

In addition to settling mercenary families to change the demography of Afrin and obliterate its identity, the occupiers changed the names of institutions, villages and towns to Turkish and Arabic, and raised Turkish flags over buildings. Orchards and the olive crop were seized and oil stolen and exported to world markets in Spain and America. 

More than 8,063 civilians kidnapped in four years of occupation

According to what the Human Rights Organization Afrin - Syria documented, more than 8,063 civilians were kidnapped during four years of occupation, the fate of more than a third of them is still unknown, and hundreds of them were released in exchange for a huge ransom.

More than 655 civilians lost their lives, including 498 people who were killed as a result of the Turkish bombing, 90 lost their lives under torture, and more than 696 were wounded as a result of the Turkish bombing, including 303 children and 213 women.

More than 333.900 olive trees and various forest trees have been cut down, and more than a third of the area designated for cultivation, estimated at more than 11 thousand hectares, has been burned since the occupation of Afrin.

Mercenary families settled in the houses of Afrin citizens

84 families of mercenaries were settled in the village of Maarska in Shera; 2,200 mercenaries in the village of Maryamin; 69 mercenaries in the village of Trinada; 100 mercenaries in the village of Maarat; 60 in the village of Mulla Khalil Jenderes.

Likewise, in Sherawa district, about 1,250 mercenaries were settled in the village of al-Ghazawiya, 500 in the village of Iska, 560 between the villages of Al-Ghazawiya and Burj Abdalo.

With funding and support from European and Gulf organizations, and the supervision of the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Organization (AFAD), Turkey worked to build settlement complexes in most of the towns and districts of the occupied canton of Afrin, and established more than 30 camps and 30 settlements in the Afrin region.

According to the latest figures, Turkey has settled nearly 400,000 people throughout the villages and districts of Afrin, 500 families.

Afrin identity change

After occupying Afrin canton, Turkey and its mercenaries sought to expel all of its indigenous residents by committing horrendous crimes.

The names of places were also changed to Ottoman names, and the Turkish flag and Erdogan’s pictures were placed everywhere and on sign boards in villages, districts and centers. The use of Turkish was imposed in schools.

Holy places were destroyed, and the graves of martyrs attacked. 

Destruction of historical monuments

The historical monuments and archaeological sites were not spared the brutality of the Turkish occupation. At least 5 archaeological places that expressed the history of the region were destroyed. Ain Dara, which is classified as one of the most important archaeological sites in Syria by UNESCO; the Hittite (Nešili) site (1200 BC), and the site of the Prophet Hori, which dates back to the Hurrian period, around 3500 BC, and was classified by UNESCO as one of the most important archaeological monuments in Syria and the Middle East.

According to the Directorate of Antiquities in Afrin, more than 59 archaeological sites, hills and warehouses, and more than 28 religious shrines of various sects and religions, were vandalized and destroyed, in addition to the bulldozing of many tombs and turning one of them into livestock markets.