«The Turks settled 10,000 Palestinians in Afrin»


A member of the Syrian parliament told that Turkey has caused a demographic change in Afrin

Jan 2, 2024. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


A Kurdish politician on Monday claimed that Turkey has settled 10,000 Palestinians in the Kurdish city of Afrin in northern Syria, adding that Kurds no longer constitute a majority.


Since March 2018, when the Turkish army and its Syrian mercenaries occupied Afrin after two months of intense fighting with Kurdish forces, an Arabisation policy of the Kurdish land has been ongoing with funds from Arab countries, including Palestine.


Abdulrahman Apo, a Kurdish politician from Afrin who no longer lives in the city, told Rudaw’s Dilbxwin Dara on Monday that 10,000 Palestinians have been settled in Afrin since its invasion by Ankara.


“Despite the construction of 22 settlements in the Afrin region, all 360 villages [of the city] have been turned into settlements. In addition to Syrian Arabs, 10,000 Palestinians are stationed in Afrin,” claimed the politician. 


He also said that Kurds used to make up 97 percent of the city’s population but they are currently a minority, constituting only 35-40 percent of the population.

 The politician noted that thousands of Kurds have been kidnapped since 2018

 "From 2018 to the end of 2023, 8,753 people have been kidnapped in Afrin, 6,892 of whom have been released," he said, adding that 153 of them died in prison due to torture.


Palestinians have also funded the establishment of settlements in Afrin.


The People's Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish force and the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), took control of Afrin after Syrian regime forces withdrew from the north of the country at the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011. Turkey in January 2018 alongside its Syrian mercenaries launched “Operation Olive Branch” in Afrin, invading the city two months later.


A member of the Syrian parliament told Rudaw on in 2022 that Turkey has caused a demographic change in Afrin. 

 “From the beginning [of the Afrin invasion], [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan worked on clearing the areas and carrying out a demographic change in the bordering areas, especially in the Afrin city. I witnessed Erdogan’s attack on the area with heavy weapons and how the people of this area were being displaced barefooted,” Mohammed Fawaz said.


The parliamentarian claimed that Turkey has transferred the ownership of houses and land to members of its proxy forces. “The purpose is to cause a demographic change in Afrin which used to be mostly populated by our Kurdish brothers. However, this will not last for a long time.”

 The Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ), a rights organisation, said in a report earlier in 2022 that there is a forced demographic change in Afrin.  

 Bassam Alahmad, co-founder & executive director of STJ, later told Rudaw that following the invasion of Afrin, “tens of thousands of fighters from the opposition and their families were moved in. This is in addition to tens of thousands of civilians [who were moved to Afrin],” he said, adding that these people have been settled in different parts of Afrin.