Turkey-backed groups cut down 175 olive trees in Afrin: Activist


Dec 6, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

 Two Turkish-backed rebel groups cut down 175 olive trees belonging to eight Kurdish farmers in a village near the Kurdish city of Afrin in northwest Syria, an activist told Rudaw on Wednesday.

Mustafa Sexo, the activist who documented the environmental violation, told Rudaw that the fighters of the Sultan Murad Division, an armed group that forms part of the Turkish-backed so-called Syrian National Army (SNA) umbrella, have cut down 100 olive trees belonging to three Kurdish farmers in Meydanke village near Afrin.

Sexo added that fighters of the Turkish-backed al-Hamza Division (al-Hamzat), another division under the umbrella of the SNA, cut down an additional 75 trees belonging to five other farmers in the same village.

The Kurdish activist also sent Rudaw several photographs purportedly showing the trees which have been cut by the fighters of the two groups, specifying that the trees were logged on Friday and Monday and were then taken to the Syrian town of Azaz as firewood.

Afrin is a Kurdish city that Turkey and its Syrian mercenaries invaded after they launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in January 2018. Since then, the members of the pro-Turkey groups have been accused of violating the rights of Kurds as well as cutting Kurdish farmers’ olive trees. 

Human rights groups and the United Nations have published reports detailing arbitrary arrests, detention, pillaging, and other violations the Kurdish population of Afrin has been subjected to.

As a result, the city’s Kurdish population fell by more than 60 percent in the first two years of the invasion alone, according to Afrin’s Human Rights Organization.