Image source: Lelun
Image source: Lelun

A report on human rights violations in Afrin during the months of February and March 2024

The series of violations against the indigenous people of Afrin and their property continues by various armed factions in the villages and cities of the Afrin region. These violations may vary depending on the rich agricultural seasons in the region.

The months of February and March 2024 witnessed many arrests in various places in the villages and districts of the Afrin region, while there were no cases of seizing agricultural seasons because there were no seasons in these two months. The pace of cutting trees decreased after the previous months witnessed a noticeable increase in the pace of cutting down fruit trees for the purpose of firewood.

It is noted in this report that cases of collecting financial ransoms remained the same, accompanied by cases of arrest of Kurdish citizens to impose restrictions on them to prevent them from returning to their villages and towns.

The “Lelun” team faced many challenges and difficulties in reaching many cases of violations due to people’s fear of providing information about these cases as a result of the armed factions threatening them with arrest, torture, and killing, which negatively affected the ability of our monitoring team to obtain sufficient information less than what is happening on the ground. Especially in the villages that are under the Sultan Suleiman Shah faction (Al-Amshat) control. Lelun researchers were unable to confirm the happening of some violations that were published on social media, so we did not include them in this report.

The months of February and March 2024 witnessed a number of violation’s cases including (1) a case of killing, (47) cases of arrest, (27) cases of imposing and collecting ransom money, (2) cases of assault and (2) cases of cutting down fruit trees.

While (40) cases of violation were recorded by the Military Police, (15) cases by the Civilian Police, (44) cases by Turkish intelligence, (1) a case by the Jaish Al-Nukhba faction, (7) cases of violation by supported displaced civilians from the armed factions.

First – Arrest:

On 7th February 2024, Turkish intelligence, accompanied by the Military Police, arrested “Jamil Hano Abdo,” 48, from “Gamruk” village in the Maabatli district, in his clothing store in the center of Afrin city near the Newroz roundabout, under the pretext of investigating with him regarding a bicycle bombing on the evening of Tuesday 6th February 2024.

On 9th February 2024, Turkish Intelligence and Military Police arrested six Kurdish citizens in Afrin on charges related to the detonation of a motorcycle bomb on the evening of 6th February 2024 near the Newroz roundabout in the center of Afrin city. The detained citizens are: “Ahmed Muhammad Kahrabji from Shaitana/Rahmaniyah village in Maabatli district, Mustafa Ahmed Kahrabji from Shaitana/Rahmaniyah village in Maabatli district/Mobato, Hassan Sheikho from Maydana village in Rajo district and Zuhair Hanan from Kafer Ziteh village in Jenderes district, Khaled Muhammad Waqas, a resident of Kukhra/Kuxrê in Maabatli/Mobato district, and Muhammad Farid, 41, a resident of Joqeh/Jwaiq village in Maabatli/Mobato district from their homes located near the Newroz roundabout in the center of the Afrin city under the pretext of investigating about a roundabout bombing. They were taken to an unknown destination without knowing their fate yet.

On Friday 9th February 2024, the military police in the Azaz city arrested the citizen, “Rola Hamdo,” 31, from Rajo town, while she was purchasing some supplies in Azaz, on charges of dealing with the Autonomous Administration. She was taken to the military headquarters. The citizen, “Rola Hamdo,” works for the “Bahar” relief organization. Her phone was confiscated and she was prevented from communicating with her family. After the intervention of the Bahar Association administration and other parties, she was released on 12th February 2024.

On 9th February 2024, the military police in Jarablus arrested: “Sherzad Muhammad,” 45 and his wife, “Rozalin Kamal Murad,” 35, from “Amara” village in the Maabatli district, during their return from Aleppo to their area, on charges of “performing the citizen “Shirazd” compulsory service during the former Autonomous administration in Afrin.

On 10th February 2024, the civil police arrested the citizen “Fathi Hanan Muhammad,” 60, while he was visiting the Afrin Local Council in order to obtain his personal identity, on charges of dealing with the previous Autonomous Administration in Afrin. Three days after his arrest, they released him. Fathi had returned to his village about a month ago from his displacement area in Nubl city north Aleppo.

On 11th February 2024, Turkish intelligence, accompanied by the Military Police, arrested “Sabri Hamoush,” 55, from “Guliyan Tahtani,” village in Rajo district, and “Abdo Ezzat Rashid,” 40, from “Guliyan Fawqani,” in Rajo district, under the pretext of dealing with the Autonomous Administration, they were taken to the security headquarters in the Rajo district center without know their fate yet.

On 14th February 2024, the military police arrested the citizen “Ayman Abdullah Kani,” 25, from Sanara village in Al-Rai city in the Azaz region while he was returning from Aleppo city. He is the only child of his parents, and he had gone to Aleppo to complete the procedures of single to his parents, he paid $2,500 and was released the next day. The reason for the arrest was that they found a Kurdistan flag in his mobile phone.

On 15th February 2024, the military police in the Afrin city arrested three Kurdish citizens: “Faisal Khalil Muhammad,” born in 1969 in Sheikh Chaqali, married with two boys and two girls, who currently lives in Afrin, the Ashrafieh neighborhood and “Ali Faisal Muhammad” born in 2000 in Afrin. He is married and has a daughter. He lives in the Ashrafieh neighborhood in Afrin. He is the son of the detainee Faisal Khalil, and Azad Ismat Muhammad, born in 2002, Afrin. Note that “Azad Muhammad” was previously arrested in October 2022 by the “Ahrar al-Sharqiya” faction from his home in the Zaydiya neighborhood in Afrin on charges of dealing with the Autonomous Administration.

On 15th February 2024, Turkish intelligence and the military police in the Jenderes district arrested nine citizens, most of them elderly people, from Agjale village in the Jenderes district, on charges of having a relationship with the former Autonomous Administration in Afrin. The detained citizens are: “Zahida Hamza Amin, 70, Mahmoud Alloush 85, Hassan Sabry 60, Sheikh Muhammad Sheikho 75, Suleiman Khalo 70, Izzat Khalo 65, Ahmed Khalo 80, Muhammad Oso 70, Ahmed Mohamed Oso 36”. Eight citizens were released after a $1,000 fine was imposed on each of them, except for the citizen “Ahmed Muhammad Oso,” who is still under arbitrary detention, knowing that most of them had been arrested on previous occasions.

On 15th February 2024, the military police in Afrin city arrested “Ahmed Omar Suleiman” and his son “Mustafa Suleiman” from their home in the old Afrin neighborhood near Oroba School. The military police had seized 2.5 kilograms of gold in his shop (Suleiman Jewellery) because $2,500 was transferred from Aleppo in the name of the citizen “Hassan Sheikho.” Ahmed Omar Suleiman and his son, Mustafa, were released after giving up the amount of gold and the money order.

On 22nd February 2024, the Turkish civil police and intelligence in Bulbul district arrested three Kurdish citizens from “Bibaka” village in Bulbul district, on charges of dealing with the former Autonomous Administration in Afrin. The citizens who were arrested are: “Ziyad Sharaf 49, Abdul Rahman Hassan Sharaf 62, Ahmed Muhammad Dalu, nicknamed (Salan) 58, after their return from the areas of forced displacement (Shahba) about two months ago. “Abdul Rahman” was released on 7th March 2024 after paying a fine, and Ziyad and Ahmed Dalu were released on 18th March 2024 after each of them paid $300.

On 2nd March 2024, Turkish intelligence launched a massive arrest campaign against a number of citizens and residents of Jenderes city on charges of working with the previously Autonomous Administration. Among the detained citizens were known: “Omar Rasho 43, Nihad Hassan 37 and Rezan Hanan Ali 38.” They were arrested on charges of being employed in one of the administration institutions and “Ziyad Rashid Muhammad” 48, a drummer, on charges of appearing in a clip from the days of the Autonomous Administration. The citizens: “Omar Rasho, Nihad Hassan, Rezan Hanan Ali and Ziad Rashid Muhammad” were released on 17th March 17 2024 after each of them paid a financial ransom of $700.

On 2nd March 2024, Turkish intelligence and civil police arrested the citizen “Dogan Abdo Bakr,” 65, in “Gulyan Fawqani” village in the Rajo district under the pretext of dealing with the former Autonomous Administration.

On 2nd March 2024, the civil police arrested four students in Qantara and Arab Oshagi villages in the Maabatli district. They are: “Farhad Hanif Muhammad, Gevara Ibrahim Muhammad, Muhammad Ali Jumke and Muhammad Radwan Mustafa,” students from Maabatli High School on the background attacking on the Kurdish student; Shiyar Ibrahim Omar” from Qantara village with knifes, on charges of involvement in the assault problem.

On 4th March 2024, Turkish intelligence and civil police in Mosaku village in the Rajo district, arrested the following: “Rasoul Qanbar Rashid” 49 and “Subhi Akash Bilal” 62 under the pretext of their participation in the night guard during the former Autonomous Administration. They were released on 6th March 2024 after imposing a fine of $300 on each of them.

On 9th March 2024, the civil police arrested “Muhammad Ahmed Khalil” 24, from the town of Sheikh Al-Hadid and “Fawzi Hassan Sheikho” 30 from Kafir Safra village in the Jenderes district after they returned to their village without explaining the reasons for the arrest.

On 23rd March 2024, the Al-Hamza Division (Al-Hamzat) arrested three Kurdish citizens, including a woman from the town of Basuta in the Afrin countryside, on charges of human smuggling. They are: “Zaloukh Subhi Battal” 21, “Khalil Jumah Krish” 45 and “Yahya Adnan Battal”38, Zaloukh’s cousin. They were taken to the Al-Hamzat headquarters in the town and arbitrarily detained. Citizens Yahya and Khalil were trying to help the girl, Zaloukh, with the possibility of securing her exit from Afrin to Turkey via smugglers and then traveling to Europe to meet her fiancé. They were released the next day after each of them paid a ransom of $1,500.

Second – Other violations:

In mid-February 2024, the so-called “Asmar,” a leader in the Jaish Al-Nukhba faction in Maydanki village in the Sharan district near the Maydanki dam, cut down 17 olive trees from their trunks owned by the citizen “Ahmed Na’asan,” a resident of Maydanki village in Shara/Sharan district.

On 25th February 2024, a group of five students who were displaced to the Afrin region attacked with knives the student “Shiyar Ibrahim Omar”, 17 from Qantara village in the Maabatli district. He is a student in the eleventh grade at Maabatli High School/Mobato. He was subsequently transferred to the hospital to receive treatment. One of the displaced young men, “Muhammad Abdel Salam,” who comes from Hayyan town in the northern countryside of Aleppo and is a student of Maabatli Secondary School. They beat him with five fatal stab wounds with a spear because Shiyar defended his teacher, Hanif Arif Hussein. He was transferred to Al-Amanus Hospital in Afrin city to receive treatment in the “intensive care” room.

On 26th February 2024, the displaced person, “Muhammad Maroush,” who comes from “Ratyan” town in the Aleppo countryside and belongs to the Hamza (Hamzat) faction, sold three houses in the Afrin city, which were owned by: “Nasser Hassan” and “Muhammad Hassan” from Ghazawiya village. He also sold a house belonging to Mr. “Abdo Jaafar Barakat” to a displaced person from Qalamoun in the Damascus countryside for $1,400, located north of Ashrafieh Park in Afrin city.

On 11th March 2024, displaced people from Hayyan town in the Aleppo countryside partially cut down 65 olive trees from Manan Muhammad’s field, a resident of Bulbul district and transported the firewood to Afrin city to sell it.

On 13th March 2024, a displaced person in Jenderes in the Afrin region killed the 16-year-old Kurdish child, “Ahmed Khaled Mamo,” from “Al-Hammam” village in the Jenderes district, in a heinous manner. The perpetrator, called “Yamen Ahmed Al-Ibrahim” -18 years old and comes from the Sinjar district of the Idlib countryside- slaughtered Ahmed Mamo and stabbed him several times, then threw him into a deep well in an area outside the city on the road between Jenderes and Tal Slour.

The Al-Amshat faction informed the Mukhtar Sanara village about the necessity of the attendance of the following persons: “Aref Ezzat Sheikh Muhammad, Omar Aliko, Ali Ahmed, Muhammad Suleiman Salim, Miqdad Abdullah, Muhammad Koro, Mahmoud Kambelak,” on Wednesday 20/03/2024 at three o’clock in front of “Fayek Shop” to demand that they pay a financial ransom for their olive fields, under the pretext of conducting a census of the number of trees. Note that these procedures are repeated by the faction of Sultan Suleiman Shah (Al-Amshat) with the aim of re-collecting financial ransoms from the farmers.

On 20th March 2024, the Al-Hamza Division (Al-Hamzat) faction, led by the so-called “Muhammad Khair Al-Riya,” summoned a number of citizens from the village of Atmana in the Raju district, they were: “Rifai Khalil Dawood” 45, “Shiyar Ali Hamki” 38, “Sheikh Musa Yusuf” 70, “Ali Hassan Battal” 26 and “Ali Habash Naasan” 55, to the faction’s security headquarters in “Hajj Khalil” village in Raju district, in order to prevent them from lighting the torch of Newrouz under threat. After detaining them for a few hours, they forced each of them to pay $300 and threatened them that if they lit the Newrouz flame, they would be arrested again and transferred to the security of the “Hamzat” faction in Afrin city.

On 17th March 2024, three displaced young men residing in “Al-Hayat” village in the Maabatli district attacked the citizen, “Luqman Muhammad Gulin” 54 and severely beat him. They fled when Luqman was going to his field outside the village under the pretext that his brother’s children did not join their councils and do not deal with him.

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