Video reveals torture of young Syrian Kurd who disappeared in Turkey

The family of Ali Veli, a 19-year-old Kurdish migrant from Syria who went missing after being released from a Turkish prison in March, received a video of him being physically mistreated by unidentified individuals, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday.

In the video the perpetrators of the mistreatment demanded that Veli’s father surrender to them, threatening to kill Veli and other family members if he did not.

Prominent rights advocate Eren Keskin reacted on social media, saying, “Horrible torture. Who are these people who can freely send this footage to the family and threaten them?”

Gülistan Duran Altuntaş, a lawyer for the family and a member of the Human Rights Association (İHD), announced that Veli went missing after he was released from prison in Erzincan and called his mother to inform her that he was going to be taken to a repatriation center for deportation.

The lawyer said they had called every repatriation center in the region and that he was unreachable.

“Last week the mother received a phone call from a Turkish phone number and was told that her son would be killed unless they agreed to hand over the father in exchange for him,” she said. “A week later, the same number sends the video footage of torture.”

According to the lawyer, Veli was also visited in prison by unknown individuals who coerced him into revealing the whereabouts of his family.

“He was told that he would never be released unless he gave them sufficient information,” she said. “I don’t know who they were. We are talking about a meeting that took place in prison, we don’t think that it could have happened outside the knowledge of the state authorities.”

Altuntaş said they have filed criminal complaints with prosecutors and will follow up on the case.

Veli was detained in June 2023 while traveling by passenger bus to İstanbul from the border province of Mardin. He was later arrested after his questioning in custody during which he revealed that he spent less than a month among the ranks of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) when he was around the age of 15 before fleeing.

He later fled Syria in an attempt to reach Europe and subsequently bring a sick sibling for medical treatment, according to the lawyer.

The YPG is a Syria-based Kurdish militant group that Turkey considers a terrorist organization due to its alleged affiliation with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an armed separatist insurgency in Turkey for decades.

Turkey’s military has launched multiple cross-border operations into northern Syria to fight off the YPG and continues to carry out frequent airstrikes in areas controlled by the group.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!