Occupation troops desecrate cemetery in Afrin

The Turkish occupation forces have destroyed the Avesta cemetery in Afrin and removed the dead from the graves. The Turkish state agency declared the fallen fighters and civilians killed in the bombardment as "victims of the YPG".

Turkey's war propaganda has apparently reached a new low. The occupation forces in Afrin in northern Syria snatched the remains of YPG and YPJ fighters and civilians killed in Turkish airstrikes from the earth of the Şehîd (Martyr) Avesta Cemetery and spread the lie that a mass grave with people "executed by the YPG/PKK" had been discovered. On July 14, the Erdoğan regime's Anadolu Agency (AA) spoke of 35 people who had been executed for refusing to join the YPG. The following day, there was talk of 61 corpses lying in a mass grave in a mess of body bags.

Human rights activist: "This is not a mass grave, but a graveyard of the people"

The spokesman for the Afrin Human Rights Organization, Ibrahim Şêxo, criticized the false claims of the Turkish press and stated: "This cemetery was established at the beginning of the attacks by the Turkish army and the armed groups. Since people could no longer bury their dead in the cemetery, they buried them here. This is not a mass grave, but a cemetery of the people." The dead could not be buried directly in the cemetery because of the bombing.

Council of Martyrs’ Families: A crime against humanity

The Council of the Martyrs’ Families in the Euphrates Region stated that the dead include fallen YPG/YPJ fighters and defined the destruction of the cemetery as a crime against humanity. The council continued: "The Turkish state does not respect human values. It is committing crimes against humanity in Afrin in front of everyone. The brutality of the Turkish state has reached such a serious point that it is now even tearing our martyrs from their graves and presenting their photos. It tried to make the graves of our martyrs look like mass graves. However, if you look closely at the pictures, you will find that it is the Şehîd Avesta Cemetery. The bodies belong to fighters who fell in the resistance in Afrin. The Turkish state has committed similar crimes before. This kind of thing is nothing new." It is unknown where the bodies of the martyrs were taken.

People from Afrin interviewed by the MA news agency also confirm that the pictures are of the Şehîd Avesta Cemetery. The cemetery was built in 2018 because the actual cemeteries were inaccessible due to the bombing. Therefore, civilians, including children, who were killed in the attacks and YPG and YPJ fighters were buried there. Many were buried in body bags so that they could be reburied at a later date.

SDF General Commander Abdi: "Protect the people of Afrin from these crimes"

The general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazlum Abdi, also commented on the opening of the graves, saying, "The Turkish occupation forces are distorting the facts and presenting the graveyard of those who died defending Afrin as a 'mass grave.' We call on the international community to take immediate action to stop this destruction and protect Afrin and its people from war crimes and crimes against humanity."