The United States and the European Union must act and impose sanctions on the “military police” apparatus

Northern Syria, particularly the Afrin region, has long witnessed a series of tragic events and severe human rights violations that significantly affect the Kurdish population in the area. One of the main entities involved in these events is the “Military Police” unit of the Syrian National Army, which is part of the Syrian Interim Government.

This unit is notorious for its repressive measures and arbitrary arrests and is implicated in acts of torture, kidnapping, and property seizure. The Syrian National Army was established in late 2017 with support from Turkey.

The “Military Police” is one of the executive arms of this army. Although its supposed role is to maintain security and order in the areas under its control, it is directly involved in kidnappings, torture, and other violations, which occur with the knowledge and participation of Turkish officers. Since the Turkish occupation of Afrin and the formation of the “Syrian National Army” militia, this unit has played a major role in widespread kidnappings. These kidnappings occur without official charges or the victims being presented to courts. The alleged violations include:

Individuals are arrested based on malicious complaints, mostly related to accusations of collaboration with the YPG (People’s Protection Units) or the Autonomous Administration, despite the lack of evidence to support these claims. These allegations are used to persecute citizens, kidnap civilians, and torture them for revenge or ransom, making kidnapping and ransom demands one of the main activities of the Military Police and other security apparatuses and militias.

Torture and Ill-treatment:
Detainees in the Military Police prisons are subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment. The methods used include beating, electric shocks, prolonged solitary confinement, and other psychological and physical torture techniques.

Members of the Military Police kidnap citizens returning to their homes in Afrin after years of forced displacement. These individuals are usually kidnapped for extortion or to settle personal scores. The few Kurdish citizens who chose to remain in their homes are also subjected to harassment, repeated kidnappings, torture, and property seizures.

Humanitarian Consequences:
These practices exacerbate the humanitarian situation in Afrin. Many residents live in constant fear of arbitrary arrest or violence. Additionally, families who lose members to kidnapping or arrest suffer severe psychological, social, and economic impacts.

International Reactions:
So far, the Turkish war crimes and the war crimes committed against citizens by the National Army militia and the Military Police have not received sufficient condemnation from the United States, the European Union, the Arab League, and Russia. This lack of condemnation provides these “criminal gangs” with opportunities to commit more assaults and violations. The international community must pressure the Turkish government, which supports the Syrian National Army, to stop these practices and ensure accountability for those responsible. However, these violations continue amid the absence of effective mechanisms to achieve justice.

The issue of daily crimes committed by the Military Police unit of the Syrian National Army in Afrin is part of the larger picture of the ongoing conflict in Syria. This issue requires intense international attention and urgent actions to ensure human rights protection and justice for the victims. Without effective international intervention, the suffering of Afrin’s residents may continue, and the violations may remain unaccounted for.