Killing and kidnappings of civilians continue in Afrin amidst international silence

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg   ANHA  


The kidnapping of civilians has increased by rebels supported by Turkey following the Turkish take-over and de-facto annexation of Afrin to Turkey on 18 March. 
Some of them were found dead after they were kidnapped by rebels operating under Turkish command. Others were released after paying ransom money to rebel groups. 
It’s unclear how many in total that were kidnapped or arrested by factions loyal to the Turkish army, or the Turkish army itself. 
Mohamed Jamil, the co-chair of the human rights office in Afrin, and a lawyer was kidnapped by the Turkish army two months and subjected to torture, Ilham Ahmed, the co-head of the Syria Democratic Council said on Wednesday. “So far there is no information about him,” she said. 
In his position, he criticised the policies of Turkey. “Turkey does not recognise the human rights, moral values, and good neighbourliness,” Jamil said in June last year, accusing Ankara of conducting a “scorched earth” strategy in northern Syria.  
Hanan Na'san, who was working previously in the local administration in Afrin, was abducted twice, and later found shot dead in the al-Sinah neighbourhood, the semi-official Syrian Kurdish news agency ANHA reported. His body showed signs of torture.  
However, it’s not only civilians that worked with the local administrations close to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that are targeted by the Turkish backed Islamist rebels. 
The Kurdish folklore singer Aslan Can, was arrested by the Turkish army and taken to an unknown destination on Monday. According to the Afrin Media Centre he was not involved in any political activity. 
Moreover, Abdulkader Kalsli (50) and his son were killed by rebel factions after their arrest in late April.  
On Saturday last week, Mohammed Shawkat, a resident of the village of Koran in Jinderes in Afrin was severely beaten and tortured by elements of Ahrar al-Sham, an Islamist rebel group, the non-partisan Afrin Media Centre reported
Ahmad Shafi Bilal, an independent journalist, was kidnapped either a rebel group or the Turkish army since 10 April. He in the past was arrested by the Syrian government and the Afrin canton authorities before Afrin came under Turkish control. 
Also, women were kidnapped by rebel groups, amidst fears of sexual abuse. For instance, Busra Sheikho was kidnapped in early May and her whereabouts are unknown. 
According to the US State Department, 140,000 civilians have been displaced following the Turkish invasion. 
“140,000 people have been displaced from Afrin, and as far as we can tell, they are not being allowed back into their homes,” US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said last week. 
There are also fears of demographic changes in Afrin with Turkey settling hundreds of civilians displaced from Damascus in Afrin and building IDP camps.