Looting internet towers, solar panels in Syria’s Turkish-held northwestern Afrin
AFRIN, Syria (North Press) – Turkish affiliated groups continued stealing and looting the property and furniture of the civilians in Syria’s northwest Turkish-held region of Afrin, local sources reported on Wednesday.
Amid a security chaos spread all over the region since the Turkish forces and their affiliated Syrian armed opposition groups, known as Syrian National Army (SNA) invaded Afrin in March 2018, the theft of internet towers and solar panels continues.
Jakar Habo, who lives in Afrin and preferred to hide his true name, told North Press that his own three solar panels with their cables were stolen.
“I have a grocery store with three solar panels on the roof for generating electricity, but few days ago I didn’t find the panels and cables, then some neighbors told me that militants stole them at night.”
“My complaint to the Turkish-affiliated Military Police was useless, so I bought a small generator for producing power, and then I used to keep it in the store,” he added
Mohammad al-Issa, one of the new Arab settlers who were brought by Turkish-backed opposition from Idlib and Ghouta, and had an internet tools in Afrin said three pieces of his tools were stolen.
“I went to the [Turkish-affiliated] police station and informed them about the theft, but they just closed the case,” he said.
“Most of the people suffer from this problem, while Turkish-affiliated police cannot control the problem.”
A member of the Turkish- affiliated Military Police in Afrin who preferred not to be identified admitted their disability as a security force to control the theft and violations.
In January, Turkish-backed al-Jabha al-Shamiya group stole the tools and devices of the electricity company in al-Ashrafiyah neighborhood in Afrin.
The Turkish army and its allies in the armed Syrian opposition pushed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin in March 2018.
“SNA fighters who swept into Afrin had been looting shops and homes. Supposedly we were going to be safe, but it turned out to be the opposite,” said a man in Afrin who preferred not to tell his name.
He said SNA looted our cars, houses, shops. It has become like we are all homeless even in our houses. No food, no drink, no security.
Syria’s foreign ministry, in a letter to the United Nations published by state media, said Afrin residents’ belongings were looted and their houses destroyed in the Turkey-led campaign.
Mohammad Hamadin, SNA spokesman, said opposition forces have succeeded in imposing greater security in Afrin,
Hamadin, who took part in Turkey's Operation in Afrin in 2018, said theft and looting by opposition forces had been quelled in the city.
A quarterly report, covering the period April-June 2020, was prepared by the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of State (DoS), and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), stated its concern regarding reports of human rights abuses in Afrin, including the desecration of several Yezidi shrines, kidnapping for ransom of Yezidi and Kurdish women, and looting and vandalizing of homes and archaeological sites.
Several human rights organizations and media outlets have documented multiple credible claims that since the occupation of Afrin began in March 2018, Turkish-backed armed groups have regularly committed various violations and war crimes, primary among them ethnic cleansing, kidnapping, extortion, murder, rape, and the looting and destruction of property.
In February 2019, the United Nations’ Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report charging that armed groups in Afrin were guilty of war crimes, including hostage-taking, cruel treatment, torture, and pillage.
(Editing by Mohammed Khier)