Kidnappings of women in Afrin and why the Turks don’t stop it

The Afrin region is famous throughout Syria for its beautiful green and hilly landscape, filled with olive trees. Kurds refer to it as the ‘garden of Eden’ and Kurds and Arabs have lived together in peace under the rulings of both Hafez and Bashar al-Assad.
The multi-ethnic city of Afrin has been gripped by violence since Turkey and FSA rebels took control in March 2018 after a two-month-long offensive against the Kurdish militia known as the YPG that held the territory for years. Turkey, that recognized the YPG as PKK’s Syrian wing has sought to push the militia away from its border through extensive military campaigns targeting both the Syrian government and the Kurds, and invading Syrian soil.
Human rights organizations have since detailed widespread abuses in parts of Syria under Turkish control, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and confiscation of property. A video showing Kurdish women believed to have been kidnapped by a rebel group in the
northern Syrian city of Afrin has renewed calls for an independent investigation of Turkey’s proxy forces operating in the region.
After deadly clashes erupted last week among various Turkey-backed factions in the city, fighters from the Jaysh al-Islam group reportedly attacked a detention center run by another Turkey-back faction, Hamza Division. A video that emerged on social media shows eight women
inside the secret prison, all of whom were abducted for ransom and found naked and abused.
“I don’t think that the Turkish army wants to prevent it because the goal is to cleanse the Kurdish population from this area,” said Fabrice Balanche, a Syria expert and an associate professor at France’s Lyon II University. Calls for an investigation on war crimes committed by Turkish mercenaries have been echoed by Yazidis who say their small religious community, long persecuted by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is also targeted.
Turkey must adhere to the standards of European Convention on Human Rights, of which it is a state party, not just within its own borders but also in areas under its effective control. Given the military operation and the administrative functions carried out by Turkey in Afrin, residents could
make a strong case that Turkey is an occupying force and seek redress in the European court for Human Rights.
The biggest problem faced in prosecuting these crimes against humanity, is that the FSA is in fact part of the US-led coalition’s plan and widespread supported throughout the west as ‘moderate rebels’ that should replace the ‘big bad dictator’ president Assad. These are the factions that the West has supported. The exact same people that rape, loot, kill and destroy Syrian people – no matter their ethnicity – and their homes, on Syrian soil.

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