Turkish-Backed Syrian Militias Traumatize Afrin Villages

08/25/2021 Syria (International Christian Concern) –  Turkish-backed militias in Syria have committed several humanitarian violations in the past week in the Afrin region. Reports of torture and inhumane treatment and conditions have been reported in several villages by two primary Turkish-backed groups, al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah and Sultan Murad Division. Christians had previously fled the region and no longer inhabit the Afrin areas in question, though only minority groups remain now. With the current status of militia terrorist groups, it is unlikely Christians will seek to return in the near future.

A civilian believed to be in his fifties was found dead in olive fields near Darkarrah village after being kidnapped by unknown gunmen. He was found handcuffed and with torture marks on his body. In Shakata village, al-Jabha al-Shamiyyah arrested a family of three and took them to an unknown location for unknown reasons.

Sultan Murad Division has imposed curfews and sieged the towns of Qartaqlaq, Mash’alah, and Matnali. The latter two have been under curfew for seven days, with militiamen verbally abusing the residents, restricting travel in and out, and restricting interaction with those who have “communicated with the Autonomous Administration”.

Qartaqlaq has been under curfew for six days. Sultan Murad arrested 29 residents who were subsequently humiliated, degraded, and tortured. Women were included among those arrested. The civilians had recently returned following their displacement and were immediately faced with pressure from the militias. With the help of other villagers, the residents managed to receive some of their confiscated property back after filing complaints with the Turkish forces over the actions of Sultan Murad.

To learn more about Turkey’s regional expansionism and influence, read part one of International Christian Concern’s recent report here and part two here.

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