Syrian Women’s Council celebrates 3rd anniversary of founding amidst more abductions in Turkish-occupied areas

ZALIN, Syria — On the occasion of the third anniversary of the founding of the Syrian Women’s Council, a press conference was held in Zalin’s (Qamishli) Reading Park.

General Coordinator of the Council Lina Barakat issued noted that, based on the importance of women’s role in stopping the Syrian crisis, the Council was announced on this day in 2017 in Mabbug (Manbij), in the presence of more than 224 women from all over Syria.

Barakat outlined the Council’s work over the past three years, which included a series of activities focused on achieving peace and stopping the war in Syria.

She also stressed the Council’s participation in local, and international activities to convey the voice of Syrian women, their suffering, and their demands.

Barakat called for strengthening International legal procedures that protect women from violence and other criminal violations and to allow them to participate in society economically and politically.

Events were held across North and East Syria by local offices of the Council to mark the anniversary.

In Mabbug, the Council held a training on for women.

In Raqqa, the local office of the Council held a public lecture and celebration with the participation of civil society actors and institutions.

The Hasakah office organized an entertainment activity for the children and women of Al-Hol Camp and distributed gifts.

In related news, Kongra Star, a women’s rights organization, organized a demonstration in Zalin on Tuesday to denounce the crimes of the Turkish and Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) occupying areas in north and northwestern Syria.

Hundreds of Zalin residents, members of institutions, religious figures, and tribal leaders participated, carrying banners and slogans denouncing Turkish violations in Syria and the ongoing military campaign in northern Iraq.

The statements and protests of the Syrian Women’s Council and Kongra Star come amidst systemic violations against women and girls in Turkish-occupied areas of Syria.

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

During an instance of in-fighting amongst the Turkish-backed SNA occupying Afrin, in northwestern Syria, at the end of May, 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.

The whereabouts of the women and girls from the May incident is still unknown.

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.

On Monday, the Human Rights Organization in Afrin reported that Turkish intelligence agents in the Ma’batli district kidnapped seven citizens of the area, including two women who are employees of the local district council.

“They were taken to the security headquarters in the district center. The reason for their abduction and their fates are still unknown,” the organization said.