Each of the hundreds of thousands of victims of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Afrin has a story. We will continue to collect them here to show the human cost of one of the greatest injustices of the Syrian conflict.
“Before the war, Afrin was just like Europe…”
“I lived in Afrin for 56 years. In the city itself. I had a lot of different work. I was an electrician, I worked in construction. I was a plumber. I was a general store shopkeeper, I sold cars for the villages. I worked in trade. My whole life was in Afrin. 56 years, I was in Afrin. My life was very nice.
After the war started in Rojava, in Syria, started, a year later the regime left. The situation in Afrin was great. It was a beautiful time. Our friends with the autonomous administration did a great job. It was similar to the situation we have now in Jazira, except that there wasn’t one regime person left in Afrin, and there are regime in Jazira now. The situation was great. It was just like Europe. Whatever you wanted, you could have. There was no fear. It was great.
I worked in the Martyr Families’ Institute. I never worked in any other institute. For example if there was a martyr, we would go and help their families. We would bring them to the martyr’s cemetery.
Before the Turks came to Afrin, it was beautiful. There was peace, there was no ISIS, there was no al-Qaeda. The situation of the people was very good. The people were happy. Very happy. But after the war with Turkey started, the Turkish occupation, the situation slowly grow worse until the city fell into Turkish hands. And we left the city. Now we are here [in Jazira]. Now, the situation in Afrin is very bad. It is very difficult and terrible, there is torture, and they oppress the people. The situation is really terrible. Before the war, Afrin was just like Europe…”
“Our whole life was organized, though we were besieged”
“I lived in Afrin, in the center, for 50 years. I was a teacher of English language at Afrin University for three years, as well as a member of the people’s assembly.
First of all, people took over the administration and rebuilt everywhere. When the Syrian Regime left, we as the people formed councils to fill in the vacant administrative duties. I joined the teacher’s union, where we worked with most teachers to maintain the educational system. We did our best to continue opening schools and holding examinations. Along with five teachers and many committees, we made everything required for that duty. People organized a lot of committees for leading all areas of life. From this period on, our whole life was organized— though we were besieged, and fractions like al-Nusra attacked us many times.
I implore every humanitarian organization to force Turkey to withdraw from Afrin.”