Erdoğan’s war on children

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By Mustafa Mamay / Source: ANF English / The Dawn News / February 28, 2018

Erdoğan had a five-year-old girl appear in a soldier’s uniform at an election campaign and praised “martyr’s death” while at the same time a child of the same age was killed by Turkish bombs in Afrin. Photo Credit: ANF English

While Turkish regime chief Erdoğan, on the stage of an election campaign in the Northern Kurdish city of Maraş, had a five-year-old girl appear in army uniform and warned the audience, “If she falls as a martyr, then, God willing, she will be covered with the flag. It’s all ready”, Turkish warplanes killed the same-aged Ibrahim Reşo 200 kilometers away, as hardly a day has passed since 20 January 2018, when one child is not killed by the Turkish state’s attacks on the civilian population of the Afrin region. At least 28 children have been killed and 69 children have been seriously injured since.

The murdered children of Afrin are reminiscent of Ottoman heritage that is highly acclaimed by Erdoğan, they really are a small part of this heritage. Descendants of the Ottoman period – persecuted children of the oppressed and murdered Armenian, Alevi and Arab populations – had lived together in peace and security in Afrin until they were targeted by the warplanes and artillery of the “Neo-Ottomans”.

The massacres that Erdoğan must answer for in Afrin have been endorsed in various reports by Human Rights Watch (HRW), UNICEF, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the United Nations at various times.

Recently, HRW has issued a statement stating that the Turkish military has killed 17 children in three attacks alone. According to the Health Council of Afrin, 28 children have been killed and over 69 children injured so far.

Despite the documentation of the civilian massacres in Afrin, international and regional powers have made no effort to stop the attacks by AKP and its allies, such as ISIS and al Qaeda, on Afrin. To break this silence, we have prepared a dossier on the war crimes in Afrin.

Massacre against the civilian population began on the first day

The Turkish state began its attack on Afrin with the bombardment of the Afrin city and its districts with 72 jets on 19 January 2018. From day one, the attacks have systematically targeted civilian settlements. Already in the first attack 12 civilians were injured, three of them seriously. One of the two injured children was the nine-year-old Arab boy Yeyha Hemedê Eli, who could not be saved despite all efforts and died. Hemedê had fled Aleppo to Afrin and was killed there by the bombs of the Turkish state.

An Arab family was wiped out

Two days later, an Arab family that had fled from Idlib to Afrin just four months earlier, along with another family, was virtually wiped out. Seven children of the Idlib family died, alongside four of the eight members of the other family. The majority of the victims of this massacre were children – it went down in history as the Cilbir massacre.

As a result of the bombing the following people from El Hüseyin family died: Selma El Hüseyin (6), Xaliya El Hüseyin (8), Hedil El Hüseyin (10), Wail El Hüseyin (1), Museab El Hüseyin (6), Ehmed El Hüseyin (17), Sami El Hüseyin (12) and a thirty-year-old unknown resident.

The owner of the chicken farm, where all were working, Xalid Rehmano, who himself lost four family members in the attack, told ANF, “I have lost my brothers Qedur Rehmano and Ehmed Rehmano, my 14-year-old nephew Ehmed Rehmano and my son Eli Rehmano. I have lost four people in the family, my brother left seven, my other brother left three children behind. We are civilians, we have only done our work. In addition, five refugee families were living with us.” Rehmano was also witness to the murder of the family from Idlib. “When the attack started, the mother took her children and ran in the direction of the street. After going 700-800 meters, the planes bombed and killed them. It was only a short distance to the path. There eight people died, mostly children.”

Shortly thereafter, two women and two children were killed in Jindires

On the fourth day, four people died in the village of Yelangiz in Jindires. Two of the four slain people were children and twenty other civilians were injured.

Family escaped from Armenian genocide a hundred years ago – now child killed by Turkish bombs

On January 24, the attack on Afrin-Rajo severely hit the Armenian family Konîs. The family had fled to Afrin a hundred years before during the genocide of the Armenian population. Now young Roşer Kornîs was killed by Turkish bombs and her mother and aunt were injured.

Alevi family who fled Dersim Genocide was murdered

On January 26, six members of the Alevi family El Xatir were killed by the Turkish warplanes. The family El Xatir had fled the Dersim genocide in 1938 and come to Afrin. The only survivors of the family are the 18-year-old daughters. Zekiya Taha El Xatir (15), Ezra Taha El Xatir (6), Suleiman El Xatir (14), an unknown person, and mother Emine and father Taha El-Xatir were killed.

Gube massacre: 18 members of a family killed

The Arab nomad family Kino had fled from Shehba before Turkish invasion and settled in Gube-Efrîn. On the 10th day of the attacks, 18 people, mostly children, were killed by the Turkish warplanes during an attack on the village of Gube and the Rubar refugee camp. Of the 25-member Arab family, only seven survived. The names of those killed are: Ehmed Kino (15), Henadi Kino (15), Sefayi Kino (7), Suzan Siphî Hüseyin (11), Hesen Kino (13), Kemal Kino (7 months).

Arhat Aliko: He was only nine years old

On January 31, 2018, the 12th day of the attacks on Afrin, this time the city center of Afrin was bombed. In the Ashrafiyah neighborhood, artillery shells of the Turkish army hit the home of the Eliko family.

Nine-year-old Arhat Eliko succumbed to his injuries despite all rescue attempts. From the family were Mishem Ehmed Eliko (75), Ekrem Eliko (45), Mihemed Ehmed Eliko (10), Eli Ekrem Eliko (40) and in the same neighborhood Gule Mihemed Xelil (40), Emile Ebdulla Ferec (50), Izet Şêx Muda (58), Ebdo Musa (11), Ehmed Şukri (39), Helime Ehmed Mengawi (70) and another unknown civilian got injured.

Heyfa killed while playing

While Heyfa Mihemed Kelho played outside with his seven-year-old friend in the village of Basut in Efrîn-Shêrawa on February 19, artillery shells from the Turkish army struck there. Due to the bombing, little Heyfa died, his friend was injured. At the site of the bombing, only Heyfa’s bloody sandals remained.

The names of the civilians injured alongside Heyfa and his friend are:

Dilber Kelho (13), Mihemed Ziyad Nebi (9), Henan Mihemed Kelho (11), Livan Xelil Kelho (7), Xelil Nebil Kelho (42), Jinav Ziyad Kelho (8), Ava Xelil Kelho (11), Dijwar Nezmi (8), Basil Cuma Omer (27), Rami Cuma Ebdulah (28).

While Erdoğan presented a uniformed child, the same-age Ibrahim Reşo died

While Erdoğan presented on stage a five-year-old child in army uniform, the same-age Ibrahim Reşo died in Afrin. The attack injured Resid Reşo (5), Hisên Raşîd Raşo (9), Raşîd Mihmed Raşo (70), Raşîd Mihmed Hisên (15) and Mihmed Nurdîn Şaban (17).

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