JAFER JAFO - GHANDI ALO / AFRIN
Afrin is located in the far corner of north-west Syria, bordered from the west by Iskenderun and the Black River, from the north by Railway Line in Midan Akbes, from the east by Azaz plain and from the south by Sama'an Mount. It is a mountainous area with a height of 700-1269 m and the highest summit is Girê Mezin. The length of Afrin canton is 75 km and its width is 55 km. The area of Afrin is 3,850 km2.
After Rojava Revolution and the liberation of Afrin from the Baathist regime, the Turkish army established the separation wall along the border between Afrin and Bakur Kurdistan during the past years.
Since 2013, the Turkish attacks on the border villages in Afrin have not stopped, in addition to besieging it. These villages were bombarded with artillery and indiscriminate bullets. The result was the martyrdom of a number of villagers and the injury of others.
The Turkish army also occupied some of the spaces and crossed the border towards the lands of Afrin.
Before the start of the attack by the occupation on Afrin, it has deployed its sophisticated military machineries on the border.
Erdogan issued statements threatening to attack Afrin under the pretext of securing its borders from danger, and that coincided with the mobilization of about 25,000 of its mercenaries of several factions and units of his army and intelligence along the borders of Afrin and Bakour Kurdistan, while the people of Afrin demonstrated, condemned those threats. They organized demonstrations on January 18th last year in which more than 80 thousand children, women, the elderly and men of Afrin participated.
In this dossier, we will mention Afrin canton's situation during the 58 days of the attacks of the occupation and its massacres targeting education, culture, history and infrastructures, and the resistance of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the people.
Committing massacres by Turkish warplanes
The Turkish attack on Afrin began after Erdogan announced the launch of a campaign under the so-called "Olive Branch" at about 16:22 on 20 January last year with the participation of 72 warplanes that bombed the small geography of Afrin.
With the start of attacks by the Turkish occupation army on Afrin, its aircrafts committed several massacres against the unarmed civilians.
On the first day of the Turkish attack, its warplanes committed a massacre against the people of Jelber village in Sherawa district, leaving 9 martyrs and 12 wounded. The Turkish warplanes also carried out a massacre in the center of Mobata, leaving 7 martyrs, all of them were from one family on 26-1-2018.
Gubeleh village in Sherawa district witnessed intensive raids, which resulted in martyring 18 civilians and wounding 7 others and other 4 members from one family. Moreover, serious damage inflicted to the properties of the people. Another massacre took place in Shikata village in Shia district, which resulted in martyring 5 civilians.
Five civilians from Yilanquz village, adjacent to the center of Janders district, were martyred as a result of raids launched by the Turkish occupation army's aircrafts in the early hours of 26-2-2018. That was followed by another massacre committed by the Turkish occupation's aircrafts against 13 civilians in the center of Janders city.
The Turkish occupation army targeted the center of Afrin, killing 7 civilians among them 4 children and wounding 17 others. As the shelling intensified on the center of the city, 20 civilians martyred in al-Mahmudiya neighborhood.
The Turkish occupation army's aircraft targeted Avrin Hospital on 16/3/2018, and more than 16 civilians including children martyred while they were receiving the medical treatment.
The number of the martyrs in the ranks of the civilians reached 257, and 742 were injured as 45 children were martyred and 113 others wounded, 36 women were martyred and 113 others were wounded, and 176 men were martyred and 516 wounded.
The doctor Delgesh Karkuki refers to the massacres that are committed, "It is a disaster, a real disaster, what happened in Afrin, the Turkish army targets the civilians and dozens of martyrs and wounded in the ranks of the civilians came to us and there was no soldier, so how do you explain this ?!"
The citizen Khadija Mohammed said, "We were seven people and we went to a basement. We stayed for a day or two days in my brother's house until a shell fell on the house, and my brother martyred. Then, we got out of the house."
Destruction of public facilities
Every place in Afrin was bombed. The Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries targeted the public facilities in Afrin in order to tighten the grip on the people while the people faced that with resistance and determination.
Because of the defeats received by the enemy on the fronts, it bombed the public utilities thinking that they will be able to break the will of the people.
The two centers of the Kurdish Red Crescent in Janders and Rajo centers were shelled, and they became out of service.
They targeted the mosque of Salah al-Din in the center of Janders area which was built in 1961, one of the oldest mosques in Afrin that included several parts for worshiping and reading the holy Quran, in addition to targeting the mosque of Jalama town of Janders area which was built in 1958.
Till February 1st, 2018, more than 30,000 of livestock in Afrin were killed, approximately 8,000 hectares of agricultural lands were damaged, and 5 poultry farms in Afrin canton were also destroyed in the result of the shelling.
The shelling targeted the Martyr Seydo Shrine in Kafer Safreh village of Janders area with artillery shells.
The mercenaries targeted water sources such as Meidanki Dam which used to supply the residents of Afrin with drinking water, the drinking water pump in the village of Metina of Shera district, Jalama village's spring and the water pump in Kafer Safreh village in Janders area.
They also targeted the educational sector where 68 schools out of 318 schools were destroyed, and dozens of students were martyred and injured.
Destroying and looting the monuments in the context of annihilating and obliterating the historical identity of Afrin
The Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries targeted the site of the archaeological hill of Ain Dara on 28-1-2018, 1 km west of Ain Dara village in Sherawa district. It is located on the road from Aleppo to Azaz and Afrin. The site is consisted of monuments and a temple with various statues representing winged animals, statues of the Sphinx, inscriptions and many monuments. According to the historians, a basalt board representing the god Ishtar was found in the site, and the date of this site goes back to about 10 thousand years. It was revealed during the bombing that the occupation targeted the history and civilization of the region to obliterate and deny all of them.
The cultural genocide adopted by the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries in the course of the attacks was directed towards the historical Nabi Hoori Amphitheater which was completely destroyed in an attempt to obliterate the history of the region.
Popular resistance against occupation is unparalleled in the region
The people of Afrin were not intimidated of the enemy's heavy and sophisticated weapons, but they showed great resistance in the face of the enemy and changed the war to a revolutionary popular war against the occupation. Many people did not leave their villages even after the occupation of the village by the mercenaries, some of whom put their life in danger to deliver equipment and food to the People and Women Protection Units' fighters.
With the announcement of the general alarm and the intensification of the attacks and in order to express a stand against the Turkish attacks, hundreds of thousands of people from the north of Syria went to Afrin canton to support the military forces and the people in protecting the canton. They went to the center of Janders area despite being shelled, and demonstrated to denounce the occupying attacks and international silence about those attacks.
Hundreds of residents of Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in Aleppo, a delegation from Başûr Kurdistan and northern Syria and Kurdish political, social and religious organizations in Başûr Kurdistan flocked towards Afrin.
Symbols of the Resistance of the Age in the popular war against the occupation.
The enemy arsenal that it brought to occupy Afrin was met with great historical resistance by the fighters of the People and Women Protection Units who stood in front of the planes and tanks with their light weapons.
In many of the hills where the clashes occurred, the enemy used dozens of aircraft to destroy the nature of those hills to occupy points such as Qestal Jandu, Sheikh Khorza, Hammam and Kifri Ker.
The fighter in the Anti-Terrorist Units, Avista Khabour, went to the enemy tanks, blew herself up and managed to damage and kill a tank in Hamam village of Janders district.
The fighter Barin Kobanî did not exit from its point in Qurna village in Bulbul district and fought the enemy until the last shot and give great moral boost in the field of resistance
The fighter, Ilan Kobanî, was also able to remove 22 of his comrades from a siege by the mercenaries in the center of Janders area when the fighter blew himself up inside the enemy and killed a number of mercenaries.
Brusk Hasakah recounts some of the resistance's features in its early stages
ANHA agency met with the spokesman of the People's Protection Units, Brusk Hasakah, who told us some of the points of the first phase of the resistance against the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries within Afrin region. He said, "Turkey did not respect the democratic system of co-existence among the peoples of Afrin as the people used to manage themselves by themselves in terms of organization and protection."
Brusk Hasakah said that Afrin was a strategic location in terms of its control of the surrounding areas, making it a distinct location.
He added, "The presence of the People and Women Protection Units in Afrin and their breaking of all the mercenary attacks disturbed the Turkish regime during the past four years. Jaish al-Thuwar and Jabhet al-Akrad's liberation of some parts of al-Shahba made Turkey lose confidence in its mercenaries, seeking hard to occupy Afrin through diplomatic and military agreements with the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia."
Brusk said that the enemy failed to achieve its goals during the first month of fighting, "Our preparations for the occupying attacks have been shown during the first month of the Resistance of the Age. The Turkish army and its mercenaries tried in all ways and using advanced military techniques to break the first lines of defense of our military forces, but they were unable to do so. The People and Women Protection Units remained taking their positions in the first lines until the martyrdom."
Brusk touched upon the fighters' resistance in the battle trenches, "In every village, we could write an epic like the resistance in Hammam village in Janders which the Turkish army and mercenaries have wanted for many days to occupy, but every time, they the fighters resisted. Eventually, they used chemical weapons in their attack. Sheikh Khurzeh Hill resisted for more than a month as the Turkish army occupied it and at the other hour, it was liberated, in Rajo; Kevre Gir hill, also in Shia and the hill of Qestal Jendu."
Brusk Hasakah at the end of his speech said, "It was not a moral war, and all the laws of war were violated by the Turkish state."