Turkish military intensifies demographic change in Afrin: PYD Co-head
QAMISHLO (Kurdistan 24) – The main political party in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) on Saturday said the Turkish military implements an intensified demographic change in the Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin amid international silence.
Shahoz Hasan, the co-head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Kurdistan 24 the Turkish military prevents Afrin’s displaced civilians from returning to their homes.
“[Turkish military] commits criminal practices there [in Afrin], like kidnapping civilians, killing them, destroying Yezidi villages and historical places,” he said.
Hasan added that the worst practice by the Turkish military is the demographic change in Afrin.
“[Turkish military] prevents the civilians from returning in order to bring their militant groups and their families and resettle them in Afrin,” he said.
Turkish and Syrian rebel forces overtook the Kurdish-held enclave on March 18 where they declared full control following a nearly two-month-long offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military force in Rojava.
Turkey, which launched its military incursion into Afrin in January, claimed the operation was meant to secure its borders of YPG forces which it argues are an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), thus “terrorists.”
The offensive killed over 250 civilians, mostly women, and children, and displaced tens of thousands.
Since the climax of the Turkish campaign, Syrian Kurdish officials have warned of a demographic change in the Kurdish enclave as hundreds of Arabs and other ethnic components are relocated from other parts of Syria to Afrin.
Regarding the demographic change, the Syrian conflict monitors, including the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the Syria-based Afrin Media Center (AMC) are constantly documenting this matter.
Last month, AMC said that about 150 Arab families from Ghouta had settled in the Kafr Safra village of Jandaris, southwestern Afrin.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany