Tacking the arrests in the Kurdish-majority city of Afrin, Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ managed to document no less than 73 incidents of people arrested on various charges, among them women and children, in February 2020. The arrests were made by armed groups affiliated to the National Army of the Syrian Interim Government, operating under the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces. However, 38 of those arrested, including four women, have been bailed out for SP.100.000 to SP.400.000 each-some of the released paid the amount in the Turkish Lira-, while there are still 35 people held, including a woman and a boy under 18 of age.
According to locals, witnesses and STJ field researchers, the bulk of the arrests were made the Civil Police, while the rest were conducted by the Military Police, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham, Sultan Murad Division, the Northern Brigade/ Liwaa al-Shamal, Samarkand Brigade, Hamza/Hamzat Division, the Elite Group.
1. Arrests in Afrin:
In February 2020, the city of Afrin and its suburbs witnessed four house raids led to the arrest of seven people; only one of them has been released, while the six others are still unaccounted for as of the date of this report.
The arrests were made by the Hamza/Hamzat Division, the Civil Police and the Military Police:
- In Afrin: on February 16, 2020, a patrol of the Military Police arrested Omar Waqqas, 22, from his home near al-Sharia Park, for performing the self-defense duty during the period of the Autonomous Administration’s control. The young man-who was previously arrested and bailed out- was released in exchange for $1000.
- On February 8, teacher Ramadan Omar, from al-Ashrafieh neighborhood in Afrin, was arrested at a checkpoint of the Civil Police, at the entrance to the city, on his way home from a wedding ceremony in the village of Qarah Tabbah.
- In the village of Bablite: on February 17, members of the Hamza/Hamzat Division arrested Hammoud al-Ghazal, head of the al-Amierat clan in Afrin and Abdullah Mohammad, the mayor of Bablite on charges of spying for the Syrian regime and cooperating with the Autonomous Administration; their fate is still unknown.
- In the village of Maratah: on February 20, a patrol of the Hamza/Hamzat Division carried out house-to-house raids and searches, in which it searched mobile phones of the Kurdish residents and asked them to present documents and real estate ownership papers. This campaign resulted in the arrest of the three elderly men, Mustafa Mohamed Aloo, 65, Khalil Saeed Ayoubi, 75, and Ahmed Mustafa, 80, and they were transferred to the central prison of Maratah.
2. Arrests in Bulbul/ Bilbile district:
The village of Bulbul witnessed the arrest of 25 people; 12 of them were released while the other 13 are still unaccounted for. The arrests were made by the Civil Police, the Sultan Murad Division, Ahrar al-Sharqiya and the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham:
- In the village of Bolio: on February 14, 2020 members of the Sultan Murad Division arrested Serbist Ahmed for collaborating with the Autonomous Administration and took him to the Division’s headquarters in the village. Since then, there is no news on him.
- In the village of Khalil Oshaghi: on February 12, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Siwar Sido Khalil for dealing with the Autonomous Administration and took him to Afrin central prison.
- In the village of Ashona: on February 12, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Hussein Aref Abdel Qader and Qadir Sheikho Abdel Qader on charges of dealing with the Autonomous Administration and they were transferred to the central prison of Maratah and they are still held there until the date of preparing this report.
- In the village of Qizilbash: on February 17: a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Jamal Khalil Omar, Khalil Hussein Khalil and Khalil Ahmed Omar for having links with the Autonomous Administration and they were transferred to the central prison of Maratah.
- In the village of Baylan: on February 17, the Civil Police arrested Mustafa Mahmoud Ali, Kheireddin Mustafa and Rustum Mustafa Mohammad for unknown reasons and they were taken to the central prison of Maratah.
- In the village of Qotan: on February 3, the Civil Police summoned nine Kurdish people for investigation into their links with the Autonomous Administration. However, they were released the same day after pledging to attend the court session on February 10, in which it was decided that each must pay a fine of SP.100.000. The citizens arrested are: Ja`far Abd al-Hanan Ja`far, the village’s mayor, Mohammad Hanan Ja`far, Abd al-Manan Ja`far, Mohammad Mustafa Ibrahim, Jamil Hamza Ibrahim, Khalil Mohammad Bakr, Abdo Ja`far Mustafa, Rashid Mohammad Sidu and Kamal Sidu.
- In the village of Kotanli: on February 11, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Safar Ahmed Joulaq and Adnan Hussein Ibrahim for dealings with the Autonomous Administration. they had been transferred to Bulbul central prison and later released for a fine of TL.700.
- In the village of Kelo: on February 8, a patrol of the Civil Police, including women, searched houses in the village and arrested Hussein Mohammad Hiso, 38, who is married with two children, and was transferred to Bulbul central prison.
- In the village of Kawanda: on February 10, members of the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham arrested Mohi Adin Omar Sido from his house, and took him to Raju prison and released him the next day. On February 11, the same group arrested Mohsen Bilal bin Mohammad and took him to Bulbul prison.
- In the village of Hyamo: on February 3, a patrol of Ahrar al-Sharqiya conducted wave of raids, arresting three persons from one family, namely Ayhan Mohammad Ma’mo, Haitham Mohammad Ma’mo and Riyadh Mohammad Ma’mo, without citing reasons.
- In the village of Qestel Miqdad: in early February, the Sultan Murad Division arrested Mohammad Ahmed Risho for dealings with the Autonomous Administration.
3. Arrests in Maabatli/Mabeta:
The town of Maabatli/Mabeta witnessed the arrest of 24 people, among them four women, by the Hamza/Hamzat Division, the Samarkand Brigade, the Sultan Murad Division, the Northern Democratic Brigade and the Civil Police. 19 of those arrested, including the women, were released while the fate of the remaining five still unknown.
- In the village of Dar Kabeer: on February 18, the Hamza/Hamzat Division, who is in control of the village, arrested the two ladies Aida Jameel Zeno, 50, and Khadija Hamou, 46, for serving previously in the local councils (Kurdish: Komins). One of them was bailed out on the same day, and the second after two days, for SP. 100.000 each.
- In the village of Dalu: on February 20, the Samarkand Brigade, who is in control of the village, arrested five locals for having links with the Autonomous Administration, namely Mustafa Mohammad, 55, Fakhri Mohammad, Ahmed Jawish, 60, Ahmed Amu, 75, and Abdul Karim Khojah. The arrestees were transferred to the Central Prison in Maratah, and were all bailed out.
On February 25, the same village witnessed the arrest of three people, namely, Ahmed Izzo, Ameen Mohammad and Lawand (his first name). They all transferred to Maratah Central Prison and still held there as of the date of this report.
- In the village of Simalco, on February 2, the Sultan Murad Division arrested 8 people and on February 6, it arrested two women, and released them all by the end of the same month after they paid fines. The arrestees are: Mohammad Hamid Mohammad, Esmat Mustafa Mohammad, Mahmoud Hamid Mohammad, Idris Mustafa Mohammad, Adnan Hamid Mohammad, Ibrahim Mustafa Mohammad, Mohammad Ibrahim Mustafa, Mohammad Mustafa Mohammad, Roshin Ahmed Mohammad, wife of Ibrahim Mustafa Mohammad, and Nazila Khalil, wife of Idris Mustafa.
- In the village of Kamrouk: on February 7, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Jihad Hussein Ibrahim and Shyar Mohammad Shuto for the involvement in a fight with displaced people. They were later released.
- In the village of Koliko: On February 23, members of the Northern Democratic Brigade, in control of the village, conducted a raid and search campaign, robbing cell phones and arresting two people, namely Mustafa Mohammad Suleiman and Ibrahim Mohammad Suleiman, for alleged dealings with the Autonomous Administration, and they are currently held in Maabatli
4. Arrests in Raju district:
Seven people, including a boy, were arrested in Raju district by the Military Police, the Civil Police and the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham, and none of them has yet been released.
- In the village of Jala: in mid-February, a Military Police patrol arrested the young man, Mohammad Rashid Hassan, from his home and took him to the central prison in the Raju district center, due to his failure to pay his financial fine at the district’s judiciary.
- In the village of Kolia: on February 19, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Azad Suliman form his house for claims of dealing with the Autonomous Administration; no further information reported on the incident.
- In the village of Maydan Akbis: on February 19, the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham, who is in control of the village, conducted house-to-house raids arresting Ziad Mustafa Huro, 17, under the pretext of finding a hunting rifle in his family’s home; he was transferred to Afrin Central Prison.
In the same village, on February 22, members of the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham arrested three people from one family, namely; Mustafa Huro, Zakaria Huro, and Muhammad Huro, on charges of dealing with the Autonomous Administration.
In the same village, on February 25, the Sham Legion/Failaq al-Sham raided the house of Musa Qanbar Musa, 25, and arrested him after finding gunshots in his house, and he was held in the municipality building which the Legion uses as a headquarters and a detention center.
5. Arrests in Sharran/Şera area:
In the village of Sharran four people were arrested, two of whom were released while the fate of the others still unknown. The arrests were carried out by the Civil Police, the Sultan Murad Division, and the Elite Group.
- In the village of Zeytunak, on February 17, the Elite Group arrested Rohat Mohammad, nicknamed Jeelo, who works as a driver, on charges of working for the Autonomous Administration previously.
- In the village of Shiltehte: on February 22, members of the Sultan Murad Division arrested Ahmed Hamo and Ahmed Mohammad from their homes, for working as smugglers from and to Turkey. They, however, were released after a week in exchange for a sum of money.
- In the village of Kafr Janneh, on February 24, the young man Rasheed Mannan Hamdoush was arrested at a checkpoint of the Civil Police at the entrance to the village, while on his way to the city of Afrin. He was taken to Maratah Central Prison.
6. Arrests in Jindires:
The town of Jindires witnessed the arrest of six people, including a woman. Only a man from those arrested was released, while the fate of the five others still unknown. The arrests were made by the Civil Police, the Military Police, the Samarkand Brigade and the Ahrar al-Sharqiya
- In Jindires town center: on February 9, a patrol of the Civil Police arrested Ali Abdu Aisak, who works as a hairdresser, for performing self-defense duty during the period of the Autonomous Administration’s control and he was transferred to Maratah Central Prison.
Also, on February 23, members of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya arrested Hassan Hassan Kuliku, on charges of dealing and cooperating with committees and bodies of the Autonomous Administration. He was released the next day after paying SP.100.000.
- In the village of Ka’ani Karakah: on February 6, a Military Police patrol arrested Alan Mohammad Abdo on charges of being conscripted, and was transferred to Jindires Central Prison. His brother Khalil was also arrested after he went to prison to ask about his brother, and the fate of the two brothers remains unknown.
- In the village of Kafr Safra: in mid-February, Aisha Khalil Kadro was arrested by the Samarkand Brigade; with no further information obtained about the incident.
- In the village of Miska Foqani: on February 27, the Ahrar al-Sharqiya arrested the young man Lawan Mohammad Noor Hassan, 25, for dealings with the Autonomous Administration.