More kidnappings in Turkish-occupied territories of North and East Syria

RISH AYNO, Syria — Civilians in areas under Turkish and Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) occupation continue to be subjected to abduction and disappearance.

Two more civilians have been kidnapped, brothers from Um Harmala village in the Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn) countryside, and are being held for ransom, according to their family.

The location of the brothers is not known.

In Tel Abyad, local sources reported that they have discovered a hidden prison next to the electricity company building in the village of Arbid used by the Turkish-backed SNA to hold abducted civilians for ransom.

Last Wednesday, civilian Qaziqli Jamil Maho was kidnapped from the village of Heikja in Afrin after the SNA accused him of previously working in the institutions of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria.

A number of previously kidnapped people from the same village were released after paying a ransom of 1,000 Turkish liras per person.

Criminality in areas under Turkish population is rampant, especially against women and girls. Cases of kidnapping, imprisonment, rapesexual trafficking, and murder have become commonplace.

In mid-August, the SNA kidnapped 14 Kurdish youth from occupied Afrin after they converted to Christianity.

The Turkish invasion of Afrin Region, launched 20 January 2018, saw the mass displacement of the local population — estimated at anywhere between 150,000 and 300,000 people at the time — and widespread criminality in what used to be the safest region in a country ripped apart by civil war.

During a recent spate of in-fighting amongst the Turkish-backed factions occupying Afrin, dozens of women, many of them naked, were freed from a detention center run by the Hamza Division out of their headquarters.

On 1 June, in response to the incident and video showing the enslaved women being removed from the Hamza Division’s headquarters, the Syriac Women’s Union, alongside several other women’s organizations demanded the United Nations and international human rights organizations form a fact finding committee in order to hold the perpetrators of violence against women in Afrin accountable.

According to local human rights monitors, the SNA have also reportedly trafficked women and girls from Afrin to Libya where they are being held in sexual slavery, subjected to mass rape and forced abortion.