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In Afrin, ‘demographic change is being carried out’: monitor

By Rudaw 25/4/2018
Turkish-backed militiamen patrol a street in Afrin. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP
Turkish-backed militiamen patrol a street in Afrin. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A UK-based conflict monitor has documented evidence of demographic change in the Kurdish canton of Afrin, northwestern Syria carried out by forces of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.

A “demographic change is being carried out led by military powers that claimed the protection of the Syrians,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated on Wednesday. 

An Observatory team reached the conclusion after traveling through western areas of Afrin and observing the situation there. Afrin fell to Turkish forces and their allied Syrian militias in late March after a two-month conflict. 

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish party PYD and armed forces YPG/YPG as branches of the PKK and framed its offensive as a counter-terror operation. 

The Kurdish groups deny the charge and accuse Turkey of making a land grab. 

In Jandaris, southwestern Afrin, the Observatory witnessed widespread destruction. Many homes that were still standing had been painted with declarations that they were now property of Syrian factions of the Olive Branch forces. 

Jandaris saw heavy clashes during the conflict, including airstrikes. 

The village of Kafr Safra, north of Jandaris city, is now a closed off military zone, housing Syrian militias and a Turkish military headquarters, the Observatory stated. 

A “spray can is enough to turn a building, a farm or even a whole village into private property of a military faction,” the monitor stated.
At checkpoints, Kurdish citizens are singled out for insults, youth alleged to be affiliated with the YPG/YPJ are detained and tortured, and looting of property is ongoing, it added.  

In addition to the military factions, evacuees from former rebel-held areas of Eastern Ghouta and Qalamoun have arrived in Afrin while those who were displaced from the canton have been prevented from returning home. 

Turkey, however, blames the PYD and YPG for pushing people out of their homes.

“Displaced under the pressure of PYD/YPG, the people of Afrin are now returning back to their homes,” Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said on Wednesday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Turkish humanitarian agencies have delivered aid to Afrin and this week the Turkish military opened an emergency hospital in Jandaris, Anadolu reported. The hospital can treat 400 patients daily. 

An estimated 50,000 civilians are believed to have remained in Afrin city and 100,000 in rural areas, according to UN figures. Some 137,000 people are still displaced and largely sheltering in the countryside north of Aleppo where conditions are poor and resources are limited. 

The United Nations on Tuesday announced it was allocating $16.3 million for projects to help people displaced from Eastern Ghouta and Afrin – focusing on basic services like food, water, shelter, and health care.

Of this amount, 49 percent will be for the Afrin response and 51 percent for Eastern Ghouta.

“With this reserve allocation, the UN and partners are able to scale up the response to the crises in East Ghouta and Afrin. However, the Syrian Humanitarian Fund has depleted all of its resources,” said Ali al-Za’tari, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Syria. “We continue to appeal for funding to allow the humanitarian community to respond to those in need.”

International donors meeting in Brussels on Wednesday pledged $4.4 billion in aid for Syrian civilians – less than half the $9 billion the UN was seeking for its humanitarian efforts this year. 

A group of nine aid organizations working in Syria said it was not enough. 

"This conference did not go nearly far enough to provide adequate support to the millions of Syrians in need of assistance and who are left facing an uncertain future," read a joint statement issued by the group that includes Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council. 


safran | 26/4/2018
there is a big possibility that syria is already split in the borders of the future - done by the big leaders in the world. i heard it many times, also from secret service, gouvernment near sources.... turkey should get everything between hatay and euphrates ( except manbij ) - settle there sunnis and turkmen -*- the kurds (and friendly groups) should get everything east of euphrates and manbij - under protection of usa and allies. -*- the rest for assad, shias, alevis - under protection of russia....i think this would be exceptable for the kurds, but it really must be registered in a contract, live signed in television under observe of the un and outher organisations, or they will betray the kurds again... but if it would be guaranted that the kurds get east of euphrates and turkey and outhers will not attack them...
Pyotr | 26/4/2018
Like the YPG did before? So when Kurds chase non-Kurds away from their homes it's okay, but when those same Kurds are chased away to allow the real inhabitants to return home the Kurds complain? This is getting embarrassing. First Afrin was going to be Turkey's Vietnam: FAILED. And now this propaganda that also: FAILS. Stop being so desperate...
Outsider | 27/4/2018
(a) the same way as thousands of YPG fighters in Afrin had to sleep somewhere...the FSA fighters have to sleep somewhere too...the few places they 'confiscated' is a demgraphic change? Interesting conclusion... (b) so should the FSA fighters who had to evacuate because they did not received Coalition Airpower support...compared to the YPG...should they and their families have died whilst the PYD & YPG are in open coalition with the Tyrant Assad and his killers? this is demographic change? Well why did the YPG ran away from Afrin? (c) I ask is it possible that YPG fighters deployed to Afrin...away from the fight against ISIS in East Syria... have no problems to return to Rojava and the areas under their fight another day...again for the US...but Kurdish families are left behind by YPG in Tel Rifaat? Why did they not "assist" them to find refuge in the paradise of Rojava... sure they would have preferred to live in democratic Rojava then to sleep in the open (as different Rudaw articles based on the Observatory's reports) state... (d) why are the very worried for the 'Kurdish Cause' nations like US & France or the YPG not coming and assisting the poor 'refugee' Afrin population ... now in Tel Rifaat??? Of course, there is an important historical fact relating to YPG Kurds...bearing in mind that only less than 2 years ago they ethnically cleansed the Tel Rifaat area from its entire Sunni Arab population (with support of the Shia local Arabs)... well you harvested what you ... the saying goes...
red | 2/6/2018
why not buy food that india has cheap and the farmers are dumping because they can not sell it .that would cut the supply cost to a third of what is spent know.

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