by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio for VT Mediterranean
Until about a year ago I was collaborating with the gepolitics’ French webmedia Reseau International. Then the director was worried because in the reports on Syria I defined the president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan as dictator, tyrant and despot, already compared by many to Adolf Hitler, and for “politically correct” reasons my inquiries were no longer published.
Today I would like the French colleague to turn her gaze to the hell created by the bloody sultan – who is harboring the desire to rebuild the Ottoman Empire – in the small enclave of Afrin, a town in northern Syria, seized by the Turkish army starting from January 20, 2018 with the invasion sarcastically called “Olive Branch”, and left in the hands of the ferocious Sunni jihadists of various factions, reinforced by the commanders of ISIS and Al Qaeda through a meticulous work of MIT (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı), the Ankara’s national intelligence organization known for using Islamic black flag terrorists in the Middle East, Libya but even in Europe.
In the last three years we have told the terrible human stories of women raped and stoned, of minors kidnapped and slaughtered, of pacifists shot, whose names we will recall later. Today it is the numbers that cry out for vengeance in front of God, the world and especially NATO, which does not dare to poke its head into the bloodstained business of the tyrant of Istanbul, blinded by the obsession with the extermination of the Kurds and other ethnic minorities who occupied that area but they have largely fled from it due to the persecutions carried out by pro-Turkish mercenaries with such scientific premeditation as to make the director of this horrendous little war an example of a Muslim neo-Nazi.
Afrin is a city that before the Syrian Civil War had about 35,000 inhabitants, too small to evoke resounding words like Shoah or genocide, even if the strategic position of its administrative district (in the governorate of Aleppo), near the borders of southern Turkey and Idlib province, still controlled by allied militiamen of Al Qaeda, have made it a prey of conquest.
But the data unveiled last January 30 at the second forum on Human Rights Violations in occupied Afrin held in Qamishlo, in Rojava controlled by the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria, ruled by the Kurds who defeated the Isis of the caliph Al Baghdadi thanks to the troops of the Syrian Democratic Forces (also made up of Christian and Muslim minorities), they leave no room for doubt about the ferocity of Turkey’s armed jihadists.
Three figures alone are enough to paint the brutality of the Muslim factions protected by Erdogan and the silence of NATO, where the Turkish army is the second military power after the USA: in just 3 years more than 7 thousand civilians have been kidnapped for ransom or of sexual slavery, 188 of them were tortured to death or killed without mercy, 127 people were raped, most of them women – but also men and boys – some even minors and disabled: some of them were forced into forced marriages with jihadists as happens with great frequency in Pakistan.
I would not give such prominence to this report if I had not dealt in the past with three emblematic cases in which defenseless civilians were kidnapped and killed for pleasure, extortion or political reasons. Also to pay homage to their memory, I will talk about it in the course of the infernal account of the violence perpetrated in Afrin and its surroundings, where Kurds, Yazidis and Christians have been forced to flee to avoid the daily risk of ambushes destined to become mortal especially for those people who do not they had families wealthy enough to pay ransoms even of disproportionate amounts.
ETHNIC CLEANING WITH WAR CRIMES
«The Turkish army’s occupation of Afrin caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of its residents, approximately 80%, to the areas of Shehba (al-Shahba), the city of Aleppo, the town of Tal Rifaat, and the al-Shahba camp, which was later established by the Autonomous Administration. During three years of occupation, nearly 400,000 foreigners were resettled throughout the villages and districts of Afrin, who were brought from the conflict zones in Syria, especially the southern countryside of Idlib, the southern and western countryside of Aleppo, and the Ghouta region» writes the Kurdish media ANF in a detailed summary of the Human Rights forum held in Qamishlo which the Rojava Information Center also reported.
Various activists from humanitarian and legal organizations intervened during the conference: Abd Hamid Al-Mahbash, co-president of the Autonomous Administration, Ibrahim Sheikho, head of the Human Rights Organization in Afrin, Majdolin Hassan, member of the Advisory Council of Women for the UN Special Envoy on Syria, the lawyer Ayman Okall, general manager of the Egyptian Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights, the London lawyer Azad Deewanee, the Syrian journalist Ghassan Ibrahim, the international lawyer Yan Fermon with a law firm in Brussels, Professor Abu Baker Dewah, secretary general of the Egyptian Bar Association and at the top of the Arab Lawyers’ Union in Egypt, together with a colleague of the same bodies, Ahmad Rajab Shehata Mahmoud Abu Shweba.
«On January 20, 2018, the Turkish occupation army and its affiliated Syrian jihadist groups launched a military operation to occupy Afrin canton, using all kinds of heavy and modern weapons. The aggression carried out with the support of artillery bombardment and warplanes with all brutality left a huge amount of destruction to the infrastructure and vital civilian facilities» highlighted the report by the head of the Human Rights Organization in Afrin.
The participants in the Forum illustrated the characteristics of the crimes perpetrated by the Turks and the jihadists they supported also through the testimonies of three surviving prisoners and the reports of legal experts on a “crime of aggression under international law”. Thanks to the NATO shield that has politically legitimized the sending of jihadist mercenaries to Libya and takes no interest in Syria, hit by the recently renewed European Union sanctions against President Bashar Al Assad.
«The attack caused thousands of civilian casualties, either dead or wounded, displacement of hundreds of thousands of residents, and dozens of massacres characterized by ethnic cleansing. These acts were committed in flagrant violation of all international principles and conventions and under various pretexts to justify the occupation of Afrin canton, including protecting Turkish national security, establishing safe regions, resettlement of Syrian refugees and displaced persons. As is known, Afrin had an administrative and societal system before its occupation and enjoyed relative stability in terms of security and economics, which was lacking in most other Syrian regions and cities. In addition, it housed tens of thousands of displaced people from other Syrian regions» it was observed during conference in Qamishlo; precisely the city where Hevrin Haly Khalaf (Xelef in Kurdish) was returning on 12 October 2019, the secretary of the Syrian Party of the Future intent on creating a dialogue between Kurds, Sunni Muslims and Shiites and Christians, intercepted by a jihadist ambush, dragged by the hair out of the armored car and massacred with a blast of Kalashnikov blows to the head as evidenced by the autopsy.
«Minorities have been subjected to displacement, widespread violations and cultural and religious change processes, especially the Alawite and Yazidi sects. Afrin is home to 23 Yazidi villages which were inhabited by about 25,000 thousand people before the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011. With the repeated attacks of jihadist factions throughout the years of the Syrian conflict, a number of them emigrated, heading towards European countries. With the entry of the Turkish occupation forces and the extremist Syrian factions into Afrin, most of them fled from these villages. A few of them did not leave their villages, most of whom were elderly, and the number of those remaining did not exceed 7,000 people. The groups and factions committed crimes and violations amounting to crimes against humanity» reports ANF.
BOMBED HOSPITALS, AMBULANCES AND SCHOOLS
The list of criminal actions is so long that we will only marginally deal with the bombings against the civilian population which are well summarized in one episode: «On December 2, 2019, the city of Tal Rifaat, 35 km north of Aleppo, was subjected to direct artillery shelling by the Turkish state and armed factions. The bombing targeted the displaced people from Afrin directly, resulting in the loss of 8 children and 2 adults, in addition to wounding 17 people, including 9 children».
From 2018 to 2020, 709 civilians were killed by the bombs that hit the hospital in Afrin 3 times, but also repeatedly the Red Crescent ambulances while transporting the wounded and the educational buildings.«According to the Afrin Canton Education Authority’s statistics, 64 schools were destroyed due to the military operation. While the number of students registered before the military operation was 50,855, there are only 13,000 students in Shehba areas currently. While 696 people were injured as a result of the bombing, including 303 children and 213 women.
«On the other hand, a water purification station was targeted in the village of Metina, affiliated to Shera district, and the dam in the village of Maidanki was targeted during the military operation to cut off the water on the population, using it as a weapon of war to force civilians to flee».
KIDNAPPING OF CIVILIANS AND DEATH TORTURE
In the Afrin district, the most powerful and brutal jihadist faction is the Al-Sharqiyah brigade made up of Islamic terrorists allies of Al Qaeda in whose ranks were also included former ISIS commanders after the defeat of the Black Flag Caliphate in the stronghold of Baghouz, in March 2019, by the Kurdish majority SDF troops supported by the bombing of their allies in the US Air Force.
They were credited with the kidnapping of three Kurdish males on May 13, 2019 in the city of Azaz where they had gone to shop: the grandfather, father and little son. The family was not wealthy enough to pay the ransom and so all three were killed, including 10-year-old boy Mohammed Rasheed Khalil with Down Syndrome. His body was found in the Afrin countryside on May 27, 5 days after the heartbreaking appeal launched to his family by his father, victim of obvious torture, for the payment of the $ 100,000 requested by the kidnapping jihadists.
Since 2018 «the Turkish state and the extremist Syrian armed factions carried out systematic killings and kidnappings. The number of kidnapped persons reached 943, of whom 76 were killed under torture or executed without any trials, charged with having connections with the Autonomous Administration. Most of the kidnappings took place under the supervision of the Turkish forces and their intelligence service MIT, through direct investigation and torture operations» still reads in the report of human rights activists released on January 30, 2020.
An issue known for some time because after the killing of little Mohammed, the Kurdistan 24 media network recalled that already in February 2019 «the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Syria released a statement in which it stated that armed groups of Afrin were guilty of war crimes, such as “hostage-taking, cruel treatment, torture and pillage. The most common violations perpetrated in Afrin have led to frequent kidnappings by armed groups and criminal gangs».
«The number of kidnappings and ransom demands in Afrin Canton in 2019 exceeded 6,000 cases. Ransom was asked from the relatives of 500 of these and the fate of 330 people is unknown. 700 people were documented subjected to torture. Some of the kidnapped women and children were filmed while being tortured and the videos were then sent to their families who were blackmailed for ransom, which sometimes amounted to more than 100 thousand US dollars. The number of murders at the hands of the factions reached 54 who died under torture in detention centers». To these numbers, the icy mirror of terrible human tragedies, are added the 58 cases in 2020 for a total of 188 tortured to death.
RAPE OF DISABLED MINORS AND FORCED MARRIAGES
If 2018 was the year of the bombings, necessary for the Turkish army to occupy Afrin, 2019 was the beginning of the criminal activity in which the jihadists armed, financed and protected by them are true specialists: ethnic rape.
In previous reports we have told of the horrors committed by ISIS cutthroats, capable of raping and pregnant Marwa, a 10-year-old Yazidi girl, and by the Nigerian terrorists of Boko Haram who kidnapped and abused 15-year-old Lea Sharibu, still a prisoner today. of Islamist guerrillas because of their refusal to convert to Islam as a Christian. In the case of Afrin, the numbers speak more than the stories, hidden between the desperation and terror of the family members forced every day to escape the reprisals of the pro-Turkish jihadists.
«The Afrin region witnessed widespread violations against women, including kidnappings, killings, rape and torture, a policy followed by jihadist factions and Turkish forces to abuse civilians and force them to flee. 40 women were murdered and 128 wounded between 2018 and 2019. In addition, 60 cases of rape were recorded, most of them against minors. 5 of these committed suicides and 270 were kidnapped. Cases of forced marriage under threat and extortion were also recorded, as well as a high rate of underage marriage among women to avoid their relatives marrying members of armed groups» reads the report of the Organization for Human Rights. As we have seen in previous reportages, forced marriage is one of the plagues of Pakistan because it is considered legitimate by many extremist Sunni Muslims.
To these cases must be added those of 35 women kidnapped in 2020 and 67 raped, including minors and the disabled. «Sexual violence was not only against women, as cases of rape of men and adolescents were documented in the prisons of the factions under the supervision and knowledge of the Turkish army».
In the province of Idlib, a stronghold of the terrorists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a rib of Al Qaeda born on the ashes of Al Nusra, the case of the Syrian Christian Suzan Der Kirkour, 60, kidnapped by a pack of jihadists, caused a sensation. raped, tortured and finally stoned for being “unfaithful”. However, the news found space only on Gospa News and a few other Western counter-information media because the Islamic militiamen in Syria are well protected by the Muslim Brotherhood, strategic allies of various NATO countries including above all the United Kingdom and Italy, as demonstrated in the Lobby Weapons dossier – 4.
A lawsuit before the High Court of London and another in a US District Court, in fact, are dealing with the financing received by the terrorist organization of Al Nusra through some banks in Doha, capital of the Emirate of Qatar, supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, the most powerful political-religious organization in Turkey that supports the sultan dictator Recep Tayyp Erdogan. In addition, some HTS jihadist mercenaries were reportedly treated in the Italian Army’s Bersaglieri field hospital in Misrata in Libya.
THE DEVASTATION OF AFRIN’S HERITAGE
«Nothing was spared in Afrin canton of the oppression of the jihadist factions and the Turkish army for whom everything was permissible. The number of forest and olive trees that were cut down for firewood trade reached more than 300,000, including 300 rare perennial olive trees, 15,000 oak trees and more than 11,000 forest trees. The factions burned an equivalent of 2,180 dunums, as well as 10,000 of the total 33,000 hectares of agricultural land». (read more)
Fabio is Director and Editor of Gospa News; a Christian Information Journal.
Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter when he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became deputy director of a local newspaper and specialized in judicial reporting.
For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime.
With independent investigations, he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians.
In July 2018 he found the counter-information web media Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East, and military intelligence. He is a correspondent from Italy for the French news site Reseau International.
He worked for many years for the magazine Art & Wine as an art critic and curator.