Urfa, Turkey – Mohammed Sofi, known as Abu Ferhad, is a 44-year-old senior member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria, Tel Abyad branch in Raqqa province, northeastern Syria. On 21 July 2013, along with thousands of other Kurds. Sofi was forcibly displaced from his city, Tel Abyad. Now he lives in the southern Turkish city of Urfa.
Sofi talked to ARA News remembering the mass displacement of the Kurds from Tel Abyad and quoting the report issued by the International Commission of Inquiry concerning the violations of the Syrian armed groups against civilians.
“On July 20, 2013, militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIL) and al-Nusra Front as well as al-Sakhana battalions, al-Rahman group, Ibn Taymiah battalion and Ahrar al-Sham Movement clashed with the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG),” he said.
“The clashes took place in Tel Abyad when the YPG forces were forced to withdraw after days of fierce clashes with the different Islamist groups. The Kurdish civilians were then ordered to evacuate the city under threat,” Sofi told ARA News.
“Thousands of Kurdish civilians fled then. However, many were kidnapped at Islamists-held checkpoints at the exits of the city and their property was stolen then burnt,” he added.
Sofi talked about the arrest of his son during the incident, saying: “Militants at one of the checkpoints in the city stopped us (in reference to his family). They were all veiled except for one person, Anwar Kattaf al-Khidr, whom I recognized as we were once organizing political activities together in Tel Abyad’s Local Council, but he apparently joined the Islamists after their control over the city.”
“They arrested my 15-year-old son and my neighbour’s 17-year-old son. I got out of the car and talked to the person who pretended he did not know me,” he said.
Sofi pointed out that the Islamist fighters of the checkpoint also tried to shoot his daughter who started shouting following the arrest of her brother. “Then I left my son behind and saved the rest of my family.”
“To my surprise, I recently recognized that the same person (Anwar Kattaf al-Khidr), who participated in displacing and arresting Tel Abyad’s Kurds, is now an employee in the Violations Documentation Office of the Ministry of Justice in the opposition-linked Syrian Interim Government,” Sofi told ARA News. “There is no authority to complain to about the crimes of al-Khidr as he is himself a member of the violations’ office by now.”
He pointed out that the recruitment of al-Khidr is an “evidence of corruption” within the institutions of the opposition-linked Interim Government (established by the Syrian National Coalition ‘SNC’ nearly one year ago).
“How could they (SNC’s Interim Government) recruit a violator of human rights to work on documenting violations against civilians? How can I complain to him (al-Khidr) as he is one of those involved in arresting my son and displacing my family?” he said in an interview with ARA News.
According to Sofi, there is a systematic and planned campaign to forcibly displace the Kurdish civilians from Syria.
“Violent practices, threats and abductions point to the intentional expulsion of people on ethnic basis, which is considered a war crime,” he concluded.
Interviewing by: Redwan Bizar
Source: ARA News
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