Amnesty accuses Turkey of tolerating Syrian rebel abuses in Afrin

Amnesty International on Thursday accused Turkish forces of allowing Syrian armed groups to commit major rights abuses in the northern region of Afrin, urging Ankara to immediately end the violations.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels seized control of Afrin earlier this year after a military operation which ousted a Kurdish militia that is an ally of the United States but Ankara regards as a terror group.

Amnesty said that, since the takeover, residents in Afrin had been “enduring a wide range of violations” which Turkish armed forces “turned a blind eye” to.

“These violations include arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and confiscation of property and looting to which Turkey’s armed forces have turned a blind eye,” Amnesty said.

Disrupted education

Some of the Syrian groups as well as Turkish armed forces have taken over schools, Amnesty claimed, which it said disrupted education for thousands of children.

Amnesty said residents told them that Afrin University was “completely shut down after it was destroyed and looted”, adding only one school in Afrin city was accessible.

The rights group said that when contacted for comment, the Turkish government questioned its impartiality for using the terminology of Kurdish-dominated forces to describe regions.

Turkey says the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia it ousted from Afrin is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since 1984. The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara, the US and the European Union.


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