Today, it marks the fifth anniversary of the start of the Turkish aggression against the city of Afrin and its countryside, the aggression that resulted in the occupation of the city and all its areas, after a legendary resistance that made history in the face of the occupation, which used all weapons, in an effort to thwart the Autonomous Administration project that is based on people who manage their own affairs by themselves.
Since the occupation of the Afrin region by the Turkish army and its affiliated factions, the region has experienced a tragic reality at all levels, as the fighting among the factions has become a constant state in the city and its countryside daily, and the violations committed by the occupation and the members of those factions towards the indigenous people are practiced in public without accountability or censorship.
The city witnesses cases of kidnapping, murders, seizure of property and looting of civilians’ homes daily, not to mention the unlawful torture of indigenous people inside detention centers.
All of this is added to the policy of Turkification in Afrin, its countryside and the rest of the occupied areas in northern Syria as the imposition of education in the Turkish language as well as the imposition of dealing in the Turkish lira instead of the Syrian one, and changing the names of streets, public squares and schools is irrefutable evidence of the policy of demographic change pursued by the Turkish occupation army in the occupied areas in Syria.
Not far from the Afrin region, thousands of its residents who are in the al-Shahbaa areas still wait to return to it, and they live in camps that have not yet been included in the United Nations programs, during all these years, and despite the violations committed in Afrin in a systematic manner that rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity according to human rights organizations.
This anniversary passes while the region witnesses signs of a process of normalization between the Turkish regime and the authority in Damascus in which normalization will be existing and the occupation is still continuing where losers are the Syrians themselves, as the beneficiaries are Erdogan who prepares matters for the elections, as well as Assad who seeks to end the international isolation imposed on him, and this rapprochement will undoubtedly stop the peace process in Syria, which is already stalled, through platforms that aren’t accordance with the international consensus, such as Astana and Sochi.
On the fifth anniversary of the start of the aggression against Afrin, we are as members of the Syrian Democratic Council, renew our call to the international community and the League of Arab States to oppose the policy of expansion practiced by Turkey at the expense of its neighboring countries, and we affirm once again that the danger of this policy is not limited to Syria only but to the unity of Syria, and we also call for taking responsibility for the suffering of the indigenous people in Afrin and its countryside in terms of systematic violations committed by the occupation with the aim of changing the identity of the region within a plan to change the demography of the region.
We call on the international community to conduct independent investigations on the daily crimes and violations committed by the Turkish regime, and we stress the rejection of Turkish policies aimed at annexing the Syrian regions.
The Council also urges all the Syrian democratic powers to cooperate in order to end the Turkish occupation of Afrin and the rest of the Syrian regions and to expel the Salafist and jihadi factions and mercenaries formed by Turkey under the name of “the opposition” and to bring them to international courts and to declare Turkey as an occupying country.
The Council affirms that the resolution for the Syrian crisis will only be through dialogue among all factions and components, and therefore it calls on all Syrians to exert all efforts to give the path of national dialogue a chance to succeed and to strengthen the home front with the aim of reaching national approaches that emphasize the necessity of ending the occupation and eliminating terrorism in order to build a modern Syria according to the foundations of civilization where those foundations aren’t linked to tyranny and they respect pluralism according to a decentralized democratic regime of governance.
On January 20th, 2023
The Syrian Democratic Council