Turkish-backed SNA excavates archaeological sites in Syria’s Afrin – Russia’s MoD

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Russian Ministry of Defense said Turkish-backed armed Syrian opposition factions, also known as Syrian National Army (SNA), excavate antiques in the Turkish-occupied city of Afrin, north Syria.

This came in an exclusive statement by Deputy Head of the Russian Coordination Center in Syria, Oleg Egorov, to state-run SANA News Agency.

Egorov said, “The terrorist groups are conducting an archaeological excavation in search of architectural and historical monuments and artifacts near Afrin,” in preparation for transferring them to Turkey and sell them in the black market.

He stressed that they do the excavation work, “using modern and heavy equipment and explosives, causing severe damage to the sites of Syrian cultural heritage.”

Since March 2018, the city of Afrin and its environs have been controlled by the Turkish-backed SNA factions, which systematically continue their systematic violations against the residents and environs, including kidnappings, killings and arrests, with the aim of extorting detainees’ families and imposing royalties on them.

In November 2021, Turkish authorities brought heavy excavators to Maabatli district of Afrin region, north Syria, to dig the location of antiquities on purpose of looting them, residents of the areas said.

Turkey continues changing Afrin area demographically by conducting illegal diggings and changing the names of the milestones to Turkish ones so that the area looks like ancient Ottoman site. 

Reporting by Saya Muhammad