State of the Occupation: A New Quarterly Report on Rights Violations in Turkish-Occupied NES

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Download the full report here.

RIC’s newest periodic report, appearing once every quarter, tracks human rights violations and crimes by Turkey and Turkish-backed SNA groups in the occupied regions of Afrin and the ‘M4 Strip’ – the border region between the occupied cities of Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad. The RIC team:

  • visited the frontlines in each region to speak with military sources about frontline developments;
  • met with IDPs from these areas in order to record their testimonies;
  • put together a database of violations using witness testimonies, news articles, and the figures of local human rights organization;
  • and was able to locate Turkish-backed SNA factions to their zones of operation. Additionally, using OSINT research, RIC was able to locate military bases and prisons across the occupied territories.

The report includes a background section outlining Turkey’s multiple invasions of NES, its command structure within the occupied regions, as well as a brief history of each of the SNA factions under its control. The meat of ‘State of the Occupation’ is its Quarterly Report, which provides figures of each of the crimes committed, as well as notable developments during each quarter. Finally, two relevant witnesses’ testimonies provide further insight into specific violations.

During the first quarter of 2021 (January-March), RIC found among other things:

  • 363 arrests across the three months, almost all Kurds, including a large raid yielding 50 arrests in Bassouta, Afrin district. Local sources tell us the pretext for this raid was staged
  • In 46 of these 363 arrests, the victims were tortured. At least two were tortured so severely they were left permanently disabled. In another case, the victim died as a result. The Turkish secret service was present in at least one case of torture
  • 38 gender-based violence events, including three murders and the torture of an elderly Yazidi woman
  • The settlement of escapee ISIS families from al-Hol camp in Sere Kaniye with the help of local SNA militias
  • The theft and destruction of at least 2,877 privately-owned fruit bearing trees in Afrin
  • Excavation and damage to the Roman amphitheater ruins at Cyrrhus

Journalists and researchers may contact RIC to gain access to the full database, additional interviews with survivors, as well as our interactive map showing faction ownership and geolocated bases within occupied territory. These maps formed the basis for those featured in our report, which were designed by @LCarabinier.

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