Turkish-backed armed opposition groups seizes land in Yezidi village to build mosque

AFRIN, Syria (North Press) – Tension continues in the Yazidi village of Basufan, in the Sharran district in Syria’s Afrin, as Turkish-backed armed opposition groups seized a plot of land with the intent to build a mosque on it.

Local sources told North Press that on Thursday, opposition groups tried to build a mosque in the Yezidi village after seizing a plot of land near the village school.

The Kurdish-speaking Yezidi minority has been subjected to over 70 massacres throughout their history due to their unique religious beliefs, which their persecutors have labelled as devil worship. Many of their cultural and religious sites have been seized, looted, and destroyed since the Afrin region was invaded and occupied by Turkish forces and Syrian opposition groups in March 2018.

Sources added that the villagers protested the seizure, and that the groups left the village after the protest, though residents fear their return and the establishment of the mosque.

In April, members of the Sham Legion group destroyed parts of the dome of the Yezidi Sheikh Ali shrine in the village using a bulldozer while shouting Islamic slogans.

Armed opposition groups have seized a number of houses of displaced Yezidis from the village of Basufan and settled the families of their members in them when they took over the village.

The number of Yazidis was estimated at about 35,000 individuals in 22 villages in the Afrin region, but their numbers have decreased by 90% since the Turkish invasion, according to estimates by Yezidi organizations.

Reporting by Hogir al-Abdo