Turkish military withdraws dozens of personnel implicated in human trafficking in Afrin

Newsfeed - Mesopotamia

by Meghan Bodette


The Turkish military withdrew dozens of security personnel from Afrin after Turkish forces were implicated in a human trafficking ring that preyed on local women and girls. 

A pro-Free Syrian Army Telegram channel posted evidence of the ring early this week after Turkish officials refused to release a FSA-affiliated media worker. Photos of official identity cards belonging to at least two Turkish security personnel were published, along with photos of some of their victims. 

According to SMART news, a local source said that 40 men were withdrawn in total, including a Major General named Doran. The men belonged to the Turkish military, police, and intelligence services, and were recalled to positions in Hatay. 

That Turkish personnel were implicated in human trafficking and forced prostitution in Afrin means that they can be investigated for war crimes, and that the Turkish military can be held accountable. A recent United Nations report that discussed human rights violations in Afrin did not go so far as to blame Turkey for crimes committed by Olive Branch forces, but noted that if Turkish involvement could be proved, Turkey could be held responsible. Amnesty International said in August that "Turkish forces are giving Syrian armed groups free rein to commit serious human rights abuses against civilians in the northern city of Afrin," but similarly refused to discuss the role that Turkish forces themselves were playing.