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Rudaw

Syria

Turkey-backed militants cite religion to flatten tombs in Afrin

By Rudaw 18/1/2019
A graveyard during the funeral for Syrian Democratic Forces fighters in the northern Syria Kurdish town of Kobane, on November 6, 2018. File photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP
A graveyard during the funeral for Syrian Democratic Forces fighters in the northern Syria Kurdish town of Kobane, on November 6, 2018. File photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Citing religious rules, Turkey-backed Islamist factions in control of Afrin are systematically destroying cemeteries in the Kurdish enclave.

A resident of Afrin who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation said that on Wednesday militants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) removed tombstones from the graves in Edama village in the district.


The tombs were also leveled. The militants told the residents that their reason was religious and the tombs were too high above ground and needed to be flattened.

Last week, Turkey’s proxies also went to Meydanke village in the Shera district of Afrin under the same religious pretext, doing the same thing to that cemetery.

In December, more than 500 tombs in Sinare village in the Shera district were destroyed by the militants. Their reasoning reportedly was to enlarging the roads.

In Islam, there are rules for tombs, but certain Salafist fatwas decree for tombs to be flat with the land and that it is irreligious to have them adorned or be above ground.

The groups operating in Afrin took over the city with Turkish help on March 18, 2018, after 58 days of fighting. Turkey claimed that the city was run by terrorists and that it posed a danger to Ankara’s national security.

Afrin, a Kurdish majority district known for its olive trees, was stable and safe prior to the invasion, hosting numerous refugees from the rest of Syria. It was a canton of the Northern Syrian Federation, administered by TEV-DEM.

Yezidis, Assyrians, Syriacs, some Arabs and Turkmen participated in the defense of Afrin under the banner of the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).

Since the takeover, half of the population has been living in camps. Their houses have been occupied and olive groves and factories taken over.

Kurdish symbols — like the statue of Kawa the Blacksmith — have been destroyed, and streets and other places have been changed to Turkish or Arabic names. Kurdish has also been removed as an official language, replaced with Arabic and Turkish.

The groups have committed human rights violations and engaged in looting. They have regularly destroyed cemeteries, each time citing different reasons. Claiming violation of religion is the latest trend.

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Hishyar Zaxoy | 18/1/2019
Islam is religion of Arabs for Arabs and in Arabic. But we are trapped in it.
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 18/1/2019
The Wahhabi believe that any marking of a grave, anything at all, is idolatry. They flattened the ancient graveyards at Mecca and Medina after ibn Saud conquered the Peninsula. In doing so, they gleefully destroyed the mausoleum of the Prophet's first wife ... They want to flatten the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, but the House of Saud won't let them ... The Kingdom gets too much income from religious pilgrims.
Hama | 18/1/2019
Bunch of lunatics. Literally the most backward idiots. There are millions of problems for people in Syria and especially their own arabs who've been slaughtered for 10 years under Assad and at risk of being attacked again in Idlib and elsewhere, and this is what these idiots are concentrating on. The Syrian war was not lost by the opposition because it didn't have support or coudn't. They had every opportunity but the war was lost by these idiot extremists who hijacked a democratic uprising only to oppress the people with trivial religious nonsense instead of fighting Assad. It's more important for them to shourt "Alahu Akbar" or level graves than to save the live of an injured or starving baby. And yeh this is Erdogan's false promises of security for Kurds.
victor | 18/1/2019
To suggest that the priority for America ,Russia ,Syria ,and Iraq should be to secure the northern and western Syrian border with turkey ,so that a turkey can never again send 50,000 daesj islmaists who landed inside turkey , from all over the world ,that islamist turkey pushed over their southern border into Syria ,for their caliphate inspired delusions ,to never be allowed to happen again . to suggest that Syrian government forces and Kurdish forces must unite and begin the process of securing the northern and western Syrian border decade to decade ,that will enable long term security for a Syria and Iraq . a islamist turkey should never again be allowed to use the Euphrates river valley that stretches from turkey to Iraq ,to reinforce and resupply their alcada muslim brotherhood affiliated islamist terrorists including isis ,to resurrect their ottoman empire caliphate inspired delusijal mental illness power trip for the middle east region starting again in Syria and Iraq ,that also included their attempt to destabilize Egypt (supporting the muslim brotherhoods morsi etc.) and Saudi Arabia and Somalia etc.
guest2002 | 18/1/2019
I do believe atta Turk’s grave is above ground and adorned too.
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