Syrians for Truth and Justice and Synergy: Use of torture systematic in Turkish-occupied Syria

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — A report by human rights monitors Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ) and Synergy Association for Victims revealed significant violations committed by Turkish forces in the occupied areas of Cafrin (Afrin), Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), and Tel Abyad.

Based on the analysis of 65 statements and testimonies documented by the two organizations over the past year, the report highlights severe human rights abuses. Most interviews were conducted with people in North and East Syria.

The report confirmed that victims often did not report the violations immediately and were deprived of the right to hire legal representation.

“Some were arrested under the pretext of cooperation with the Democratic Autonomous Administration or the Syrian Democratic Forces, a common accusation by Turkish forces against detainees,” the report stated.

The report highlighted that the majority of arrests and instances of torture in Cafrin, Rish Ayno, and Tel Abyad were for extortion and ransom. Others were detained to intimidate them into leaving the area, and some civilians were arrested merely for demanding the return of their stolen property.

According to the report, Turkish-backed factions failed to comply with any minimum standards for detaining people. All those interviewed by the two organizations were held in overcrowded places or solitary cells for long periods without justification, and they endured inhumane conditions designed to pressure them into giving confessions, providing information, or paying ransom, or simply to cause suffering.

The report further stated that all the women interviewed by male investigators reported being blindfolded during interrogation. Many were subjected to torture and sexual ill-treatment, including harassment, violence, rape, and insults to their honor, based on prevailing social norms.

The two organizations called on the international community to take immediate action to stop acts of torture in the occupied territories and throughout Syria. They urged for stronger efforts to hold perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes accountable and to achieve justice for the victims.