Turkish-backed rebels torture, kill Kurdish man in Syria’s Afrin province: report

Victims Walid Jamil Sourani (19) and Hussein Abdulrahman Sagher (25).

A Kurdish man succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday after he was attacked by Turkish-backed rebels at his home in the Afrin district of Syria over the weekend, local sources from the region claimed, according to a report by Kurdistan 24.

The report said the armed militants of the Ahrar al-Sham group raided the home of Sami Haj Khalil on July 15, attacking him and his brother Ibrahim before looting $2,000 worth of property from the house. Sources claimed Sami was tied to a tree outside his residence in the Haj Hasna village of Jindiris town located in northwestern Syria’s Afrin district.

The 40-year-old was discovered a day later beaten and tortured, and despite being taken to a hospital, he eventually died of his injuries due to a lack of medicine available.

Sami was a father of four.

Elsewhere, another Turkish-backed rebel group, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, admitted on Monday to the murder of two Kurdish youths in Afrin’s countryside four months ago. The family of the victims, Hussein Abdulrahman Sagher (25) and Walid Jamil Sourani (19), refused an offer of financial compensation from the rebel group.

A Turkish-led offensive into Syrian Kurdistan’s Afrin earlier this year has resulted in the death of over 250 civilians and the displacement of tens of thousands of others.

Meanwhile, the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) claimed on Wednesday that civilians who remained in Afrin after the invasion of Turkey-backed rebel groups have been savagely tortured, abducted, sexually abused or murdered. As many as 3,000 people are estimated to have been kidnapped in the Afrin region since March, and the fate of 7,000 people from Afrin and its surroundings remains unknown since the illegal invasion started amidst silence by the world, according to ANF.

Ankara launched the campaign on January 20, 2018, arguing it was meant to clear its southern border of the threat posed by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who it says has ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), thus labeling them “terrorists.”

The months-long offensive, which reached its climax in March, drew condemnation from human rights organizations who criticized the Turkish government for ignoring large-scale rights abuses in areas under its control.

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