Unrest in Afrin, Syria as the Turkish army moves into the country


Photo courtesy of Kurdishstruggle/Flickr

Kurdish YPG fighters in the frontline

Anjitha Melekoote Suresh, Reporter

In January, the Turkish army made an impending military offensive against Afrin along with the Free Syrian Army and captured it.

Afrin is a district located in the northern part of Syria, which was part of the Arab Republic of Syria but presently serves as the administrative center of the Kurdish Canton in Rojava.

According to the January 21, New York Times article titled, 72 Jets Bomb U.S. backed Kurdish Militias in Syria, Turkish president, Erdogan is moving ahead despite warnings from the U.S. that the military attack would “further destabilize war-torn Syria”—Erdogan responded by saying, “no one can say a word” about the operation.

The Turkish army reportedly looted the city and committed notorious attacks against civilian property in the city while Kurdish army responded to it through shell attacks in the Turkish province of Kilis across the border.

According to a January 19, BBC news feed, the AFP news agency journalists on the ground in Afrin saw rebels break into shops and houses and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which monitors the conflict in Syria, said rebels had been “pillaging private property, political and military sites and shops.”

The Turkish army had vowed to destroy the Syrian Kurdish militia called the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which they see as an extension of the banned Kurdish PKK movement.

Turkey was angered and threatened by the YPG’s expansion in the region.

The military strike brought the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Tweet about the incident.

“In Idib and Afrin, when the climate of peace and trust is being restored, hundreds of thousands of Syrian brothers will have the opportunity to continue their lives in their own home.” Erdogan tweeted on January 22.

A Kurdish student from Turkey, currently studying in the U.S., will remain anonymous out of safety concerns, but told Northeast Valley News that the Kurdish people are continually fearful of the intolerance against them.

“As a Kurdish and Alevi, we do not feel safe in Turkey because of racism.”

“The Turkish government says that by fighting in Afrin they are cleaning Kurdish terrorism, but if they want to clean terrorism they should clean the ISIS terrorist groups inside Turkey.”

Syria has been in a civil war for eight years.

As a result, 465000 Syrians were killed, a million of them were injured and over 12 million were displaced from their homes creating a large community of refugees.

Aytun Çıray, the parliamentarian for the district of İzmir’s and general secretary and press agent of İYİ Party in Turkey, talked about the meetings of the foreign affairs minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in Astana, with the Russian and the Iranian embassy in Turkey.

“Every mistake costs the lives of people in Syria, aren’t you ashamed?” Cray said.

Cray added that the Turkish politics has been a disaster from the beginning until the end and that disaster is going to make his country worst.