Dr. Widad Calls For End to Turkey’s Occupation of Afrin

Dr. Widad Calls For End to Turkey’s Occupation of Afrin



Oslo, March 15, 201– Dr. Widad Akreyi urges world leaders to help put an end to the ongoing campaign of Turkization and Arabization in Afrin, to pressure Turkey to immediately pull out of the Kurdish province and to vow that justice will be served.

Dr. Widad Akreyimulti award-winning peace-builder and co-founder of Defend International, has issued a statements that reads:

On the anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Afrin by the Turkish army and its jihadi factions, we urge world leaders to help put an end to the ongoing campaign of Turkization and Arabization, to pressure Turkey to immediately pull out of Afrin and to vow that justice will be served.

One year ago, on this date and on the 30th anniversary of Saddam’s infamous chemical attacks on Halabja, the Turkish army and its radical Islamist proxies slaughtered children and civilians in Afrin, a province of Rojava, while the international community failed to act. It was tragic that no world leaders wanted to take the lead and say that the indiscriminate bombing of a peaceful province was unacceptable. One year on, we restate our call to save Afrin and its civilians.

Throughout last year, and on into this year, confiscation of properties, forced disappearances, the lack of security, the absence of the rule of law, arbitrary arrests, secret detentions, abductions, torture, mass looting, blackmailing, burning of olive trees, forced expulsions, policies that alter the ethnic and religious demographics of population, harassment, subjugation, intimidation and rape are but some of the challenges the citizens and refugees of Afrin are faced with.

Turkey’s invasion of Afrin was a mistake and in violation of international law. This occupation must end. So must the Turkization and Arabization of Afrin province. The displaced Afrinians must be allowed to return to their homes. Reparations must be paid to the families of victims and to the survivors for the massive destruction and injuries caused by Turkey’s aggression.

We are aware that without bold moves from the outside world, there are no indications that Turkey and its Islamist militants will be withdrawing from Rojava any time soon. The miserable situation in Afrin is a striking example of the need for global leadership to pay close attention to the plight of innocent civilians. Therefore, in addition to the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops and its militias, we call for the establishment of a safe-zone for the people of Rojava and the deployment of international observers to monitor the areas near Rojava/Syria-Turkey border to prevent more bloodshed.

We encourage world leaders and UN agencies to recalibrate and strengthen their efforts to halt the Turkish aggression and end the tragedy of Afrinians.

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For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact media@defendinternational.org


Dr. Widad is a preeminent peace-builder, humanitarian and human rights defender. A winner of several awards, the renowned champion of justice and gender equality has become a global voice for the voiceless, first and foremost the women and girls abducted, sold and enslaved in the Middle East. Originally from Kurdistan, Widad now lives in the West and holds a Master’s degree in genetics and a PhD in global health and cancer epidemiology. She has she been on the Executive Board of a variety of national and international organisations like Education for Global Peace, Women of Europe Award and Amnesty International, and has successfully advocated for the adoption of three international UN agreements (Arms Trade Treaty, Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, and a resolution Dedicated to Questions of Small Arms and Light Weapons) and served as ambassador of Stop Torture campaign and Stop Violence against Females campaign. Her historic novel, The Vikings Kurdish Love: A True Story of Zoroastrians Fight for Survival, is relevant to current events. For more information please visit Dr. Widad’s website at widad.org