The so-called local police of the Turkish occupation announced that it found a mass grave inside the city of Afrin in which it contains the remains of tens of victims, whose identities were not announced, and as a result, it announced the responsibility of the Syrian Democratic Forces directly for this cemetery, given that the date of the burial process dates back to the stage of its control over the city. Tens of the buried bodies were exhumed and their photos were broadcasted through the media and the photos were presented to the public opinion in a manner that was degrading to the human dignity. Hours later, the governor of “Hatay” announced his adoption of the case and began accusing the Syrian Democratic Forces of committing a “massacre” against the people and burying them in a mass grave. After that, the Turkish Ministry of Defense also formally charged the SDF and described that action as a “war crime”.
After the pictures of the victims’ bodies were presented by the Turkish media and the media of the Syrian armed groups associated with them, the Syrian Democratic Council from the first moments followed with great care the details of the case and expressed its interest in the need to reveal the truth and know the parties involved in such a crime, and it began to communicate with the various concerned authorities to obtain Clarifications in this regard within short hours and with evidence to show that this cemetery dates back to the last days of the military violation stage carried out by extremist factions led by the Turkish army, which used all kinds of weapons at that time with the aim of occupying the city of Afrin, displacing its original inhabitants and housing the families of mercenaries. We also clearly confirmed that these victims were martyred during the Turkish military operation as a result of the brutal Turkish bombing of the city of Afrin, and their numbers, according to the available records, are (71) martyrs, including (40) martyrs whose names are known, among them (5) civilians, and (31) of them are unidentified their identity at that time because of the harsh conditions during which they were martyred.
At the outset, we express our appreciation to the concerned bodies that responded quickly to clarify the facts, and the professional work they followed by archiving the incident in the smallest details in their records, and we also express our appreciation to all the parties that issued positions rejecting the accusations against the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Syrian Democratic Council renews its condemnation of the heinous massacre committed by the mercenary factions in cooperation with the Turkish army, in which there were (71) martyrs as a result of that massacre. We as members of SDC denounce and condemn doing the Turkish government these heinous ways to distort the truth of the SDF and their sacrifices accusing the SDF that sacrificed the Syria’s young people against the terrorist organizations.
We also denounce this coordinated activity among groups called the local police in Afrin, the Hatay governor’s office, and the Turkish Ministry of Defense, which has turned into a media platform that oversees dangerous and misleading media projects that seeks to mislead and incite the public opinion.
The Syrian Democratic Council calls on the Turkish government to abandon this behavior and review its aggressive policies towards the Kurdish people. It also calls on the Turkish government to apologize to the families of the martyrs for the crime committed against their children and for the tampering that occurred against the graves and bodies that were lying in peace. The council calls on the Turkish government to return the bodies for their families to be reburied properly.
We also offer our condolences to the families of the victims and martyrs, and we call on the international community to form a special committee to investigate this issue, to show a responsibility for all the violations and crimes against humanity that occur by the mercenary factions affiliated with Turkey, and also to work for return the displaced people from Afrin to their homes, ensure their security and safety, return all property to their owners, stop displacement operations and discontinue a deliberate and systematic demographic change against the indigenous population.
July 17, 2021
Syrian Democratic Council