Escalating violations in Syria’s Afrin

A year after the region was hit by a devastating earthquake, the human rights situation in Afrin in Turkish-occupied Syria is deteriorating further, finds a new submission to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria by Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and YASA Kurdish Center for Studies and Legal Consultancy.

Ceasefire and YASA have monitored violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Afrin since Operation Olive Branch in 2018 when the area in north-west Syria was occupied by Turkish forces and armed factions of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army.

The new submission Escalating violations in Syria’s Afrin: 2024 update offers an account of developments in Afrin over the last year, based on the documentation of 152 cases reported from November 2022 onwards, drawing on the testimony of victims and witnesses.

The incidents reported in this update encompass a wide spectrum of events of concern, including continued violations of rights to physical integrity of civilians in the area through arbitrary detention and torture, kidnapping for ransom, forced marriage and gender-based violence, in addition to the recruitment of children by the armed factions, the impact of the earthquake and discrimination in the distribution of aid, the persistent presence of Turkish forces in Afrin and continued attacks on cultural celebrations such as Newroz.

Furthermore, findings show demographic shifts through forced migration, the destruction of graves and historical sites, illegal archaeological excavation, the deliberate destruction of olive trees, the burning of fields, and violations of housing, land, and property rights in the region.

Escalating violations in Syria’s Afrin: 2024 update is published in May 2024.

For previous reports on the situation in Afrin see:

Cultivating Chaos: Afrin after Operation Olive Branch

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