A busi­ness in human lives has devel­oped in Afrin: harmed mili­tia demand­ing huge ran­soms for kid­napped civilians.

Français | English

Armed fac­tions backed by Turkey are pro­ceed­ing to sys­tem­at­ic arrests of ran­dom Kur­dish citizens.

The arrests tar­get both men and women who are some­times held against ran­som. Kid­nap­ping against ran­som has become a very pop­u­lar busi­ness with the fac­tions, aim­ing to col­lect as much mon­ey as pos­si­ble and to repress the pop­u­la­tion remain­ing in the towns in order to force them out of the region. The Syr­i­an Obser­va­to­ry for Human Rights (SOHR), based in Lon­don, has doc­u­ment­ed the fact that the fac­tions trans­ferred kid­napped per­sons into deten­tion cen­ters, seiz­ing their homes with some of them trans­formed into head­quar­ters for pro-Turk­ish fac­tions shar­ing the zones of influ­ence in Afrin.

Over 6 000 peo­ple have been kid­napped for ransom.

The Syr­i­an Obser­va­to­ry for Human Rights (SOHR) says it has doc­u­ment­ed at least 3 000 cas­es of kid­napped per­sons trans­ferred into “hostage quar­ters and secret jails” and that 2 090 of these kid­napped per­sons are still detained or report­ed as disappeared.

The detainees are tor­tured and beat­en, their rel­a­tives being pressed to pay for their liberation.

The kid­nap­pings have become “a way to make mon­ey” says the SOHR.

Sev­er­al of the vic­tims are trans­ferred to the infa­mous prison of Al-Raai or in Turkey itself.

On more than one occa­sion, the SOHR has not­ed that the fac­tions send the fam­i­lies audio or video clips of the kid­napped per­sons, blind­fold­ed and tor­tured under threat of a firearm, demand­ing an enor­mous ran­som imme­di­ate­ly, fail­ing which the hostages will be shot or decap­i­tat­ed. Per­sons already reduced to pover­ty have no oth­er choice than to call on their rel­a­tives and acquain­tances in order to scrape togeth­er the amounts demand­ed of them.

The ran­soms can reach $100 000. Often, as sev­er­al cas­es demon­strat­ed last May, sev­er­al mem­bers of the fam­i­ly, includ­ing chil­dren, are kid­napped and a ran­som is demand­ed against evi­dence of the tor­tured or mur­dered body of one of the victims.

Although vic­tims and their fam­i­lies in Afrin often sig­nal such cas­es to the mil­i­tary police, the civil­ian police and the Turk­ish author­i­ties, this has lit­tle effect”, accord­ing to the UN report.

The hor­ror of deten­tion centers

The deten­tion cen­ters are either homes con­fis­cat­ed from dis­placed Kurds, trans­formed into head­quar­ters for armed fac­tions, or pris­ons man­aged by the Turk­ish MIT and Grey Wolves, in Turk­men towns East of Azaz, such as the pris­ons of Sejjo and Al-Raii. Anoth­er large prison can be found in the bor­der vil­lage of Midan Akbaz, Rajo, in the extreme North of Afrin.

Detainees are inter­ro­gat­ed by armed groups and Turk­ish offi­cers. “All the ques­tion­ing relates to the detainees’ activ­i­ties on social media and accu­sa­tions of being affil­i­at­ed with the YPG/PKK/PYD”, explains Jan. H. who was detained three times in a row; every time, his fam­i­ly had to pay enor­mous sums for his liberation.

I was bru­tal­ly tor­tured and my father was arrest­ed when he was unable to pay the ran­som of $50 000. They called in my father and in front of him, they put a sword to my throat. I was only set free when my father man­aged to col­lect the ran­som mon­ey from our acquain­tances in Europe.”
There is clear evi­dence that some pris­on­ners were even impaled and have now dis­ap­peared. One sur­viv­ing per­son who was impaled and is now an invalid, received aid from smug­glers in order to enter Shah­ba (Gov­er­norate of Soueï­da, South Syria).

A look at the jails man­aged de fac­to by Turkey and the vio­lent carcer­al sys­tem of its agents, reveals inhu­mane tor­ture along with rapes and mur­ders, as indi­cat­ed in a series of phone inter­views with some thir­ty kid­napped per­sons in Afrin who described the cru­el con­di­tions inside these deten­tion cen­ters as crimes against humanity.

Accord­ing to the sur­vivors, the inter­roga­tors and tor­tur­ers spoke Turk­ish and Ara­bic and used a dozen dif­fer­ent tech­niques of torture.

Also as part of this dirty game, the women arrest­ed by the fac­tions were often sex­u­al­ly assault­ed and raped.

Civil­ians and civil­ian infra­struc­tures must be pro­tect­ed” has been the only alert to come out of the UN so far.

In view of these vio­la­tions of human rights, where oh where is the rest of humanity?

Rossel­la Assanti

Rossella Assanti

Rossella Assanti, activist and freelance journalist specialized in Kurdistan issues.
She believes in truth as a means of making justice win. Travel so that his pen becomes the voice of those who are silenced.

Image: Already in June 2019… A fam­i­ly, includ­ing a child with Down’s syn­drome, tak­en hostage, had been exe­cut­ed by armed groups.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
Vous pouvez utiliser, partager les articles et les traductions de Kedistan en précisant la source et en ajoutant un lien afin de respecter le travail des auteur(e)s et traductrices/teurs. Merci.
Kedistan’ın tüm yayınlarını, yazar ve çevirmenlerin emeğine saygı göstererek, kaynak ve link vererek paylaşabilirisiniz. Teşekkürler.
Ji kerema xwere dema hun nivîsên Kedistanê parve dikin, ji bo rêzgirtina maf û keda nivîskar û wergêr, lînk û navê malperê wek çavkanî diyar bikin. Spas.
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
Por respeto hacia la labor de las autoras y traductoras, puedes utilizar y compartir los artículos y las traducciones de Kedistan citando la fuente y añadiendo el enlace. Gracias.
Potete utilizzare e condividere gli articoli e le traduzioni di Kedistan precisando la fonte e aggiungendo un link, al fine di rispettare il lavoro di autori/autrici e traduttori/traduttrici. Grazie
Auteur(e) invité(e)
Auteur(e)s Invité(e)s
AmiEs con­tributri­ces, con­tribu­teurs tra­ver­sant les pages de Kedis­tan, occa­sion­nelle­ment ou régulièrement…