Turkification, Crimes of Killing and Kidnapping Continue in Syrian Areas Occupied by Turkish Regime

DAMASCUS, (ST)- The Turkish-backed terrorist organizations and mercenaries alongside the Turkish occupation forces in the Syrian city of Afrin continue to commit murder and kidnapping crimes  against the locals in the areas that have been occupied by Turkey since March 2018. These crimes have been accompanied by an active Turkification campaign by Turkish occupation in the areas under its control.

 According to local and media sources, a civilian from Afrin in Aleppo northwestern countryside was recently tortured to death at the prisons of the Turkish backed “Al-Hamzat Free Army” terrorist group. Another civilian was kidnapped in the vicinity of the city by another terror group called “al-Amshat Free Army”. The kidnappers asked his family to pay $3000 ransom to release him.

 The sources also revealed that a person was found killed by unknown gunmen in Azaz city in Aleppo northern countryside which is controlled by the so-called “Free Army". Such crimes have been repeatedly committed in the areas controlled by Turkish-affiliated terrorist groups.

Since its occupation of Afrin in March 2018, the Turkish regime, led by Recep Tayyib Erdogan, has adopted a Turkification policy that has affected all aspects of life in the city. The regime replaced the Arabic names of some areas and main squares with Turkish names.   It also changed the names of the villages and towns into Turkish names in an attempt to  wipe out their real identity. For example, the Turkish occupation replaced the name of a town called "Qastal Mikdad" with the Turkish name "Saljoki Obasi" and named the main square in Afrin as "Ataturk". All these provocative acts go in line with Erdogan's Ottoman aspirations which are based on occupation, looting and violations of international laws and conventions.

Turkey's attempts to Turkify the Syrian cities, towns and villages, such as Azaz, al-Bab, Jarablus and Afrin, included also the naming of some Syrian schools in these areas after Turkish officers who were killed while invading the Syrian territories.  The Turkish flag is hoisted over these schools and the Turkish language is imposed as a main subject in the curricula.

In addition, the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries have forced Afrin residents to obtain new identity cards to use them at “official” circles in the city, according to tens of media and local sources. This behavior is reminiscent of the Zionist occupation's practices in the occupied Syrian Golan and Palestine.

Edogan's regime, through its terrorist tools, has also attempted to undermine the cultural and historical Arab identity of the area through destroying all its archeological monuments and historical icons. The Turkish warplanes have destroyed many archeological sites in Afrin including Ain Dara temple and the archeological sites of  al-Nabi Houri and Tal Jandares. They even destroyed the archeological site of Barad in Afrin which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, not to mention the acts of vandalism in the tombs and archeological sites in search for artifacts, gold and other historical treasures.

Hamda Mustafa

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