QAMISHLO (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish military force in north Syria on Saturday said they would intensify their operations in the country’s northwest Kurdish enclave of Afrin and target new settlers to stop the demographic change.
“Our fight in Afrin is to drive out those strangers,” Nuri Mahmoud, the spokesperson of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), told Kurdistan 24.
Mahmoud referred to the people brought by Turkish-backed Syrian opposition militants from Damascus to Afrin as “strangers.”
“Those who came from outside Afrin, or are using IDs belonging to Afrin’s people, will be our target,” he said.
Mahmoud affirmed that the operations would continue until the people of Afrin return to their homes.
Monitoring groups and Kurdish media in Syria said Turkish-backed Syrian opposition had transported thousands of families from Ghouta to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin over the last few months.
Two months ago, Afrin Media Center, a Syria-based information office that has been documenting the Turkish assault on the region since its launch on Jan. 20, said about 150 Arab families from Ghouta have settled in Kafr Safra village in Jindires, southwestern Afrin.
Additionally, the Turkish army and its armed groups have changed the names of the markets and squares in Afrin, naming the city’s main square after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
They also changed the names of two squares in Afrin. The Newruz Sq. and Kawa Sq. were renamed “Salah a-Deen al-Ayoubi Sq.” and “Martyrs’ Sq.”
The Kurdish forces’ General Command previously said the people of Afrin “have never given up the resistance against the Turkish occupation” despite forced immigration, ethnic cleansing, looting, theft, and mass killings.
YPG top commander Sipan Hemo told Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday that the YPG’s military operations in Afrin continue and will grow in intensity with time.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the YPG has carried out over 100 attacks against forces controlling the area.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Reporting in Kurdish by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Lava Asaad from Qamishlo)