The U.S. State Department’s 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Syria acknowledged the kidnappings and disappearances of women carried out by Turkish-backed Syrian National Army militias in Afrin, the highest-level acknowledgement of the practice by the U.S. government to date.
“The COI, STJ, the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), and other monitors documented a trend of TSO kidnappings of women in Afrin, where some women remained missing for years,” the report found.
The kidnapping of Arin Dali Hesen, a Yezidi woman from the village of Kimar who was abducted by the Hamza Divison in February 2020, was cited as an example of the practice, as was the May 2020 discovery of a group of women held in “degrading conditions” in an illegal prison operated by the Hamza Division.
The report also reiterated United Nations findings on other abuses women faced at the hands of armed groups, including torture, rape, and forced marriages.
The Missing Afrin Women Project urges governments to continue to condemn these abuses, to demand the release of all individuals arbitrarily detained in Afrin, and to hold perpetrators of human rights violations in Afrin— including abductions, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence— accountable for their actions.