Since the Turkish invaders and their extremist factions set foot in Afrin in March 2018, violations against the Kurds, the indigenous inhabitants of the region, have not stopped. Nature has also not escaped the Turkish practices and their mercenaries by committing crimes against nature and the environment by cutting down the thousands of fruit trees and forest trees that cover the plains and mountains of Afrin region. Numerous reports indicate that the Turks and their mercenaries, as well as settlers, cut down nearly half a million trees between forest trees such as oaks, pine and cypress trees, and fruit trees, the most important of which is olive trees. The number of olive trees cut since the occupation of Afrin has reached more than 150,000 trees.
According to local sources and news agencies, the motives behind logging in the Kurdish region of Afrin are material ones, as the leaders of the extremist factions, in cooperation with Turkish officers and merchants, sell timber and firewood in the local and Turkish markets. Settlers also cut down trees and make them firewood for heating, as an alternative to expensive or often lost diesel. In addition, the Turkish occupation army is cutting olive trees for military purposes, as well as cutting off the livelihoods of the remaining Kurds in the Afrin region and forcing them to leave their land.
Statistics indicate that the number of olive trees in Afrin region constitutes more than 20 percent of the total number of olive trees in Syria, which is approximately 18 million trees. And it represented 70 percent of the economy of the people of Afrin before the Turks and their affiliated factions, and their settler families, seized the vast majority of the trees. They plundered its fruits and oil and sold them in Turkish and European markets, and cut them to sell firewood as an additional source of income.
It should be noted that the olive tree has a deep symbolism in the consciousness of the people of Afrin. It is not like any tree that only bears fruit to be nourished, but it is a bond with the earth and an attachment to existence. The more the olive tree extends its roots deep into the earth, the more connected it becomes.
It is a long story that only those who have sheltered in the shade of an olive tree can only be able to tell.
Attached picture: A woman and an elderly man from Afrin, two of the age of olives, declare their loyalty and cling to the trunk of a freshly cut olive tree, as if they were saying:
Even if you cut down all the trees, our roots remain here.