Turkish army attacks civilian targets

Northern Syria: After 23 days of war of aggression (Press Release)

At least 160 civilians have lost their lives in attacks by Turkish fighter planes, heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and tanks. Kurdishstruggle via Flickr

23 days of Turkey’s war of aggression against the Syrian province of Afrin, which is mainly inhabited by Kurdish people, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) published dreadful figures. According to research by Kamal Sido – the STP’s Middle East Consultant, who is in close contact with his relatives and the authorities in the region – at least 160 civilians have lost their lives in attacks by Turkish fighter planes, heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and tanks. There are 26 children and 17 women among the victims, and 395 civilians were wounded. About 60,000 people had to flee from their villages to the crowded canton capital Afrin. 60 villages were partially or completely destroyed. The few elderly women and men who were not able to escape were captured and mistreated. Many of them were forced to praise the Turkish army and its allied Islamist militias in front of cameras.

Further, Sido criticized that Turkish fighters had also attacked civilian targets – such as the drinking water plant “Matina” in the north of Afrin. The works had to be shut down several times, sometimes for several days, and about 300,000 people had to go without drinking water. The attacks are also likely to damage the city’s drinking water pipelines – and defective water pipes could lead to diseases. In addition, the only reservoir that provides water for Afrin is in danger, as several shells came down in the immediate vicinity.

The attacks also caused serious damage to Afrin’s agriculture, infrastructure, and several historic sites. Kurdish farms were burned down, agricultural machines were demolished or robbed, olive oil containers or silos were destroyed. Whole olive groves and orchards were set on fire, allegedly because they might be used as hiding places for Kurdish YPG fighters, who have been protecting the region from the Islamist attackers since 2012. About 50,000 children and adolescents can no longer attend school because some of the school buildings in the region were completely destroyed.

The Turkish army and the Syrian Islamists are also trying to wipe out the culture and history of Afrin. Thus, large parts of the 3000-year-old world-famous temple of Ain Dara (built in the late-Hittite-era) were destroyed, and the Hori Citadel with its ancient theater in the north of Afrin was razed to the ground.

Header Photo: Kurdishstruggle via Flickr