US government report finds impunity for abuses targeting women in occupied Afrin

The latest U.S. Department of Defense Lead Inspector General report to the United States Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve found credible reports of kidnappings of women in occupied Afrin, as well as widespread impunity for these incidents and other abuses carried out by Turkish-backed armed groups.

The report said US officials have stated “concern regarding reports of human rights abuses in Afrin, including…kidnapping for ransom of Yezidi and Kurdish women.”

While the United States could not confirm these reports, the Inspector General report noted, officials said that “many appear to be credible.”

The report also noted that there was “no evidence that the Syrian Interim Government has consistently arrested, prosecuted, or otherwise held accountable any TSO members implicated in human rights abuses or violations of the law of armed conflict.”

To date, more than 150 women whose identities are known have been reported kidnapped by Turkish-backed armed groups in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch in January 2018. Five such alleged incidents took place last month.

The Missing Afrin Women Project encourages governments and international organizations to further investigate kidnappings and disappearances of women and girls in occupied Afrin, along with all other rights violations carried out by occupying forces.