In a statement on the sixth anniversary of the occupation of Afrin by the Turkish state, YPG Command said that they will “continue the struggle until the liberation of Afrin and all occupied regions.”

Afrin Canton was the westernmost canton of Rojava and North and East Syria, home to 200,000 ethnic Kurds. Though the population was overwhelmingly Kurdish, it was home to diverse religious groups including Yazidis, Alawites and Christians alongside Sunni Muslims.

On 20 January 2018, Turkey launched air strikes on 100 locations in Afrin, as the onset of an invasion they dubbed ‘Operation Olive Branch.’

The Turkish Air Force indiscriminately shelled civilians as well as YPG/YPJ positions, while a ground assault was carried out by factions and militias organised under the umbrella of the Turkish-backed National Army.

By 15 March, Turkish-backed militias had encircled Afrin city and placed it under artillery bombardment. A Turkish airstrike struck the city’s only functioning hospital, killing 16 civilians.

Civilians fled and the SDF retreated, and by 18 March Turkey was in de facto occupation of Afrin. Between 400 and 500 civilians died in the invasion, overwhelmingly as a result of Turkish bombing. Other civilians were summarily executed in the field.

Prior to the Turkish invasion, Afrin had been one of the most peaceful and secure parts of Syria, virtually never seeing combat during the civil war bar occasional skirmishes between YPG/YPJ and jihadist forces on its borders. As a result, Afrin offered peaceful sanctuary to over 300,000 internally displaced people from elsewhere in Syria.

The YPG (People’s Defense Units) Command released a written statement on the sixth anniversary of the occupation of Afrin and stated that the occupying Turkish state organised a comprehensive attack on Afrin for 58 days in 2018 with the support of international forces and the most advanced war technology with the involvement of gang groups.

“It is clear that the Afrin attack was carried out with the approval of the imperialist powers that have influence in Rojavayê (Western) Kurdistan and Syria. Afrin Resistance of the Age is an unprecedented process and event in history. The sacrifice and resistance of our people and forces in Afrin put a strain on the occupying state and proved once again that our people can defend themselves against any attack with their own power. Hundreds of our comrades and the people of Afrin, taking part in the relentless resistance with limited means, such as Avesta Xabûr, Îlan Dara, Artêş Hakkarî and commander Karker Êrîş, were martyred whilst fighting with great sacrifice.”

Reminding of the crimes against humanity committed by the Turkish state and its gangs for six years, the YPG Command stated the following:

“In the last 6 years, the demographic structure of Afrin has changed, the Kurdish people have been displaced, the human rights granted by international laws and agreements to which the Turkish state is a party have been violated, and the Kurds in Afrin have been deprived of their rights. Afrin is being cleansed of Kurds and the aim is to change the identity of the region. For this purpose, Kurds who want to return to Afrin are subjected to pressure and attacks by the occupying gangs. For this reason, we, as the YPG, reaffirm that we will continue our struggle until Afrin and all occupied regions are liberated. We respectfully commemorate all our comrades who were martyred in the Afrin Resistance of the Age, and we reiterate once again that we will enhance the struggle for freedom in their footsteps.”


Leave A Comment

Go to Top