Information Center of
16.03.2018 – 22.03.2018
The Information Center of Afrin Resistance is providing direct information from the
inside of Afrin. Since the 26th January 2018 we report up-to-date about the invasion
and war crimes of the Turkish state and the resistance of the people in Afrin.
This is the weekly summary of the developments in and around Afrin.
Follow daily news onTwitter: @ICafrinresist and @ICafrinresist2
Email: ic .[email protected]
The Developments in Afrin 16th-22th March, 2018
With the defeat of the IS in Syria and especially after the liberation of Raqqa in October 2017, the
Turkish state intensified its threats and attacks on the Democratic Confederation of Northern Syria.
On this background the Turkish occupation war on Afrin started the 20th January 2018 violating
international law and the sovereignty of its neighbour country. The Turkish army has launched this
war in cooperation with jihadist groups of the FSA ranks. Many of them are former Al-Qaida or IS
Last week’s Developments inside Afrin
After 58 day of resistance against the second biggest army of the NATO, the phase changed. As the
Turkish army and its jihadist allies heavily bombed the city and the civilian infrastructures, the
number of civilians casualties rapidly increased, as well as the destructions inside the city. The siege
of Afrin city confronted the people, the self-administration and defence forces with the concrete
danger of even larger massacres. According to the people’s will, on March 18th the majority of the
city’s population left the town centre and was evacuated in order to avoid a physical genocide. YPG
/ YPJ forces continued the resistance against the occupying forces by using guerilla warfare tactics.
Until now, neither the international community has intervened nor the UNCHR has sent
humanitarian aid to Afrin’s people.
War and Humanitarian Situation
Since March 14th, the whole Afrin city had been under heavy bombardments and constantly
overflight by Turkish warplanes and drones controlling the whole area. About 500 thousand people
were still in the city. By bombing and shelling the Turkish army and its jihadist allies targeted
civilians. Each day more than a dozen of civilian casualties – men, women and children – were
reported from the town and different districts of Afrin. Essential infrastructures were destroyed
systematically as well as telecommunication antenna, private houses and cars. Especially, water
tanks were targeted which were vital for the population as the water-pipes of Meydanke dam were
already cut-off last week by occupying forces. A disastrous health care situation emerged, because
Avrin Hospital was overwhelmed by the huge number of civilians killed or injured. In the night of
March 16th, Turkish army directly targeted Avrin Hospital killing at least 16 and injuring dozens of
civilians. On March 17th, the Turkish army released a drone footage allegedly proving they never
would have hit the civilian hospital. But photos and videos from local sources show the opposite.
Also an independent investigation by the citizens journalism website Bellingcat1 proved the Turkish
air-raid on Avrin Hospital. Kurdish Red Crescent members claimed that they have been targeted by
the bombardments as well while trying to rescue victims of war.
The intensifying direct attacks on civilians, the rising number of casualties and the massacre in
Afrin city killing at least 47 civilians on March 16th alerted the population and self-administration of
Afrin to take precaution to prevent further massacres. Refugee convoys leaving the town were
shelled and bombarded again throughout their way towards Shebah region. On March 17th, a
refugee convoy was targeted by the Turkish army on its way to Jindirese. Witnesses reported that
about 250-300 civilians were massacred just in this incident.
Evacuation of Afrin City and Press Conference of Self-Administration
In Shehba Canton the representatives of the Democratic Self-Administration of Afrin, YPG / YPJ
and Kongra Star, gave a press statements about the latest developments which were live broadcasted
at the Kurdish TV Channel Ronahi TV on March 18th.
“The resistance of North Syria’s peoples has been a joint resistance. In order not to become victims
of genocide, a big part of Afrin`s population came to Sherawa and Sheba. This does not mean that
we have given up Afrin. The resistance continues”, stated the Co-Chair of Afrin Council Asman
The spokesperson of the People’s Defence Forces YPG, Brusk Haseke: “We have not withdrawn
from Afrin. We took precaution to save the lives of civilian that have been subjected to unlimited
massacres. YPG/ YPJ are present in all districts of Afrin and will continue the struggle. We promise
to our people that we will not leave our land and our people to the occupiers. So far our concern
was to protect the people. Now, we are ready for new offences to free Afrin.”
Co-Chair of Afrin Council, Hevi Mistafa: “We have neither given up Afrin nor our hope. For 56
days the people have resisted against cruel military attacks of the occupiers. For saving the lives of
our people, together we came to Sherawa and Sheba. The resistance continues everywhere. The
silence of the international community is responsible for the increasing brutality of Erdogan’s
attacks. He occupied first Cerablus, then Bab and then attacked Afrin. No voice was raised against
this. This is not only a danger for Afrin, but for the whole world.”
In an interview released on March 21th by ANF News2, YPG Spokesperson Nuri Mahmoud
confirmed that Afrin was not evacuated as a result of any deals, but due to the decision of Afrin’s
people who came face to face with genocide: “Our forces also participated in this decision. It was
important to move the people to a safe area. The resistance is not over with the exit of our people.
Right now, our fight in Afrin continues. Afrin will never be a safe place for invaders. We will
continue with our struggle until Afrin is free.”
Situation of Refugees from Afrin in Shehba region
Since almost the whole population of Afrin Canton got displaced during days of intense fightings
and bombardments, keeping the precise records of the number of refugees and their whereabouts is
very difficult. The work to obtain these kinds of data are still continuing. After March 18th, the
majority of refugees has gathered in Sherawa and Shehba region (Til Rifaat). According to the Selfadministration
more than 200,000 fled Afrin city in the days of March 18th.3 According to UNCHR
104,000 people fled from Afrin city in the course of the last escalation: 75,000 reached Til Rifaat,
29,000 Nubol and Zahraa (regime areas) and 10,000 stranded in Az-Zayra, attempting to no avail to
cross Syrian regime areas4. However, the situation on the ground is critical. Although the councils
of Shehba Canton work day and night to meet the needs of the refugees, the capacity of the canton
is insufficient. The number of people evacuated to Shehba is well above their own number of
The people of Afrin are in urgent need of electricity, food, water, milk for children and healthpromoting
measures. Now they are struggling to build up a new life with the few things they have
in tents, empty houses, shops and patios5 6. However, until now no humanitarian aid from UNCHR
reached Shehba region to help the self-administration and the refugees.
Turkish-jihadist occupation of Afrin
On March 18th the Turkish army and the jihadist forces entered Afrin city. Countless videos show
their forces inside the city looting7 8, detaining9 and threatening10 people, as well as the presence of
Leopard tanks provided by Germany to the Turkish army. The occupying forces destroyed symbols
of Kurdish culture like the statue of Smith Kawa, the symbol of people’s Newroz resistance against
the tyrant Dehaq. The bodies of YPJ fighter Nudem and YPG fighter Muhammed from Kantere
(Mabata district) were beheaded and their mutilated bodies exposed on the road. Under the “Takbir –
Allahuakbar!” shouts of the Jihadists11, the Turkish army raised Turkish flags – making the
occupation of Afrin by a NATO member official.
‘The Washington Post’ journalist David Ignatius wrote: “Seeing the photographs of pro-Turkish
Islamist militiamen strutting about the center of Afrin on Sunday, it seemed eerily possible that
jihadist allies of the Islamic State were back in control in northern Syria, thanks to our “NATO ally”
Until writing this Bulletin, new evidences of ongoing looting, killing, tortures and detaining of
civilians have been arriving from Afrin city. The Turkish army and its jihadist allies have banned
entry in and departure from Afrin city. They force young men either to join FSA or go to prison.
These threats are considered to be geared towards changing the demography of the city. In fact, the
Turkish regime has repeatedly stated that it wants to settle refugees from Turkey now in Afrin
region. European Union funds are also being used to realise this.13
Resistance against Occupation
In Sherawa district – especially around the villages Berade, Baya and Kimara – still heavy clashes
are continuing, as Turkish army and its jihadist allies attack positions of SDF/YPG/YPJ protecting
Afrin’s people sheltered in Sherawa and Sheheba district. On March 20th and 21st, heavy clashes
erupted in Berade village (Sherawa district). The Turkish army shelled the village causing the
destruction of historical buildings, an ancient church and historical artefacts from the Roman
period14. On March 21st, civilians lost their lives due to Turkish army’s bombing on Baya village.
Between Baya and Kimara villages, YPG fighters destroyed a hostile military vehicle and killed 5
members of the occupying forces15. Kimara village is an Ezidi village. So after the ISIS attack on
Shingal in 2014 Ezidi people in Afrin are again facing the threat of massacre16.
Between March 18th and 20th, YPG carried out sabotage actions in Afrin city, Jindirese, Bilbile, Rajo
and Shera districts17. In Afrin City, YPG fighters targeted occupying forces while they were looting
civilians property. As a result, 16 members of the occupying forces got killed and 7 wounded. On
Jindrese road, YPG targeted a position of the occupying forces killing 28 soldiers or jihadist and
destroying an armoured vehicle. Further, two different actions between Bilbil and Rajo districts
resulted in the deaths of 21 members of the occupying forces.
On March 20th, in Alamdarah village, an armoured vehicle was destroyed (video footage18 19).
Heavy clashes also reported from Meydanke and Meshale villages (Shera district).
On March 21st, a YPG action with ATGM rockets resulted in the destruction of a military pick-up
truck in Bilbil distric20.
Two Internationalist Women Engaged in the Defence of Afrin: Anna Campbell and Legerin Ciya
On the March 15th, the internationalist YPJ fighter Anna Campbell (Helîn Qereçox) originating from
UK lost her life when the Turkish army bombardments targeted their convoy. Anna Campbell had
said about the attacks on Afrin: “Daesh is only one face of the exploitative and fascist system.
Those who occupy Afrin are one with Daesh. Those who attack Afrin share the same mentality as
Daesh. The second largest NATO army is behind them. Our comrades are leading a great resistance
and show great sacrifices. We are facing a bigger enemy than ever before. It is an honour to me to
be fighting alongside heroic warriors.”21 Anna Campbell’s father called upon the UK government
“to negotiate a ceasefire so that my daughter’s body can be retrieved along with the bodies of all
who have been killed in Afrin since the Turkish offensive began.”22
On March 17th, Alina Sanchez (Lêgerîn Çiya), originating from Argentina lost her life in a car
accident in Haseke when she was travelling to a meeting with NGOs and health organizations in
order to establish connections to support the displaced people of Afrin23. During her stay in Rojava
she was involved in YPJ medic teams saving the life of many fighter injured in clashes with ISIS.
She especially dedicate herself to contribute to the establishment of an alternative health system in
Rojava and to connect women’s freedom struggles internationally.
Solidarity with Afrin
Since March 16th, actions and mobilisations in solidarity with Afrin grew and spread day by day
with increasing creativity. On March 18th, 10 politicians, journalists and the football player Deniz
Naki24 started an indefinite hunger strike in front of the United Nations (UN) Geneva Offices to
urge the UN to take action against the Turkish occupation of Afrin. In France, hundreds of Kurdish
children boycotted schools and marched in solidarity with the children of Afrin25. In Rome, Italy,
protesters tried to reach Turkey embassy and clashes with the police erupted26.
In Crete and Greece protesters occupied the Germany embassy to protest against Germany’s
complicity with Turkish State27. In many countries and many cities diverse civil society
organisations and platforms organised marches, hunger-strikes and protests like in UK, France,
Italy, Germany, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and Australia. Moreover, the 2018
Newroz celebrations which were dedicated to the Afrin resistance united the people all over the
world. In Northern Kurdistan (Turkey) and Easter Kurdistan (Iran), in many towns hundreds of
thousands people gathered despite state repression and arrests.
For March 24th , the World Afrin Day is planned as an international action day. Meetings and big
demonstrations are expected all over the world.
Statements and analysis
In general, official statements condemning Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Afrin are
increasing. Speaking at the German parliament, Merkel said that the operation Turkey has been
carrying out in Afrin is unacceptable and she condemns it in the strongest way28.
Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, expressed concerns about Turkey and FSA occupying
Afrin29. With respect to the civilian population that still remains in Afrin, the president of the ICRC,
Peter Maurer, said: “…the credibility of a Turkish Red Crescent working in Afrin with the Kurdish
population is close to zero”30.
As Turkish threats now extend to Kobane, Qamishlo and Shingal, Turkey officials claimed to have
reached an agreement with the US over Minbij. However, the US State Department spokesperson
Heather Nauert said: “Well, that’s funny, because no agreement has been reached.”31
US Secretary of State is changing; Rex Tillerson is going to leave place to Mike Pompeo. Rex
Tillerson had a leading role in the discussion process with Turkey about Syria, Afrin and Minbij.
Therefore, this change could be related to differences on strategical interests of USA and Turkish
aggression policy against Northern Syria. At least, it can be assumed that it might cause a delay in
any possible agreement or discussion.