Vigil in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – from 11 am to 1 pm
100 days after the Turkish army invaded the Kurdish region of Afrin in northern Syria, the civilian population is still suffering from ongoing arbitrariness and violence by the Turkish soldiers and their allied radical Islamists. Thus, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) will hold a vigil in Berlin next Tuesday (in front of the Brandenburg Gate) to draw attention to the fate of the people in Afrin and to hand over a human rights report concerning the illegal occupation of the Kurdish region to the Vice President of the German Bundestag, Thomas Oppermann (SPD). Oppermann agreed to meet the STP and Kurdish delegates from Afrin in his office at 12 o’clock. One of the members of the Kurdisch delegation is Salaheddin Haj Rachid, a leading member of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (Yekiti-Al Wahda).
“In Afrin, Kurdish people get killed by the Turkish army or Syrian Islamists almost every day. The Turkish-Islamist occupation has become a nightmare for the civilian population,” stated Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant, whose relatives are still living in Afrin. “The invaders are still carrying out raids, until today. The Kurdish peasants are being deprived of grain, olive oil, their vehicles, vegetables, fruits, livestock – and everything else they have left.” According to the STP, at least 300 civilians lost their lives due to the Turkish army’s attacks on Afrin, and at last 3,000 Kurds were deported. According to estimates, up to 7,000 Kurds have disappeared. Many prisoners were tortured, and some of them were killed. For example, Ahmad Sheikho from Shaykh al Hadid (Shiye, to the west of Afrin) is said to have died as a result of torture, shortly after being released from prison on June 11.
The Turkish army and its allies had cut off and threatened Afrin from the outside for years, before attacking the region on January 20, 2018 – with fighter jets, heavy artillery, tanks, and rocket launchers. They also used Leopard 2 tanks and other German-built weapons systems. Afrin fell on March 20, 2018, following 57 days of severe clashes with the only lightly armed Kurdish defenders.
Header Picture: MrPinguin20 via Wikimedia Commons