After Turkey and its mercenary allies occupied Afrin in 2018, the region was transformed from a rich and prosperous area into a battlefield. Attacks on Afrin are carried out every day: in February there were more than 120. Seven people were killed.

Until a few years ago, spacious meadows, fields and forests dominated the gentle landscape of Afrin – green as far as the eye could see. The hilly region in northwest Syria was particularly famous for its olive groves – and with more than 360 Kurdish villages, it was historically the part of the country most densely populated by Kurds.

But Turkey’s war of aggression at the beginning of 2018 changed everything. The civilian population not only experienced lethal violence, massacres and torture, but was also largely driven from their homes and deprived of their livelihoods. Since then, Afrin has been occupied and the olive trees so typical of the region are disappearing. They are felled, stolen or burned.

Until the occupation, Afrin supplied practically all of Rojava with its agricultural products, but today it is considered a desert. Bombs fired by the Turkish army and its mercenary allies fall almost daily in Afrin and the neighbouring Shehba region, which have been combined to form the canton of Afrin-Shehba since the Social Contract of Northern and Eastern Syria was revised. In February alone, the region was the target of attacks by Turkey-backed occupying forces more than a hundred times, as the balance sheet of the “Afrin Liberation Forces” (HRE) confirmed on Friday.

The HRE documented a total of 126 attacks in Afrin-Shehba in February. The attacks targeted a total of 37 villages and smaller towns and claimed at least seven lives, three civilians and four members of Syrian regime forces.

In addition, a number of people were injured. Five of them were members of the civilian population. Among them was a 19-year-old woman who was injured on Thursday evening in the shelling of the village of Soxanekê in the small town of Sherawa, southeast of Afrin.

The HRE also said in its report that various weapons from the Turkish army’s inventory were used in the attacks, including missiles, armed drones and tanks.

The numbers of shells fired are shocking and show the occupiers’ desire to destroy Afrin’s Kurdish existence: 1,214 howitzer shells, 649 mortar shells, 32 tank shells, 77 shells fired from grenade launchers and four rockets reportedly hit parts of Afrin-Shehba. In addition, according to the HRE, the invading forces carried out at least nine drone attacks in the region.

About the HRE

The Afrin Liberation Forces (Hêzên Rizgariya Afrinê) were founded after the occupation of Afrin with the aim of liberating the region and enabling the displaced population to return. In addition to regular reprisal attacks, carried out by the resistance group against the occupiers, the HRE also documents Turkish military violence in the region and publishes the figures in regular reports.


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