The city of Afrin awaits the stabilization of its state and the execution of the “Save Afrin” conference recommendations, which the Turkish city of Gaziantep incubated on Sunday, March 18; a number of provisions were issued during the event, on top of which is the formation of a local council to run the city, after the “Free Army’s” and the Turkish army’s control over it in the past a few days.
While Afrin’s entrances were decided to remain closed to Saturday, March 24, more than a 100 personalities, from the city, attended the conference and expressed their concern about the difficulty of implementing the recommendations in the meantime, following the discussion that resulted in 17 provisions to be put to action after the cession of the military operations and clearing off the mines left by the (Kurdish) “People’s Protection Units”.
The return to the city is limited, according to Hassan Shandi, the conference spokesman and a Kurdish opposition figure, who told Enab Baladi that a group of committees have been formed to start action, the most prominent of which are the following: The public relations committee, the relief committee, the follow up committee, repatriation of displaced persons committee, the educational committee, the media committee and the judicial committee.
Shandi said that Kurdish personalities, 85 people, constitute the major percentage in these bodies; some of them are independent, others are either parties’ affiliates, doctors, lawyers or artists, in addition to Arab figures, headed by the Sheikhs of the Bobna and al-Umayrat tribes, Yazidis and Alawite personalities from the al-Mebatli district.
The Formation of a Local Council
Thirty people were chosen to start the Afrin City Local Council, who are all based in Turkey. The conference’s spokesman said that, in the next few days, a decision will be made about whom of these persons would enter Afrin to help the people under the supervision of specialized human rights and civil organizations.
In parallel, the local council will form local police from Afrin’s people; these people do not follow a party and “are not ideologized”; their only objective is “to voluntary protect the city to preserve security and safety, and not to impose enforced military conscription and recruitment, to pay the volunteers’ salaries through the provisions of the Civil Administration Treasury,” Shandi Said.
As for the conference’s provision of afflicted people’s repartition and the reconstruction of the destroyed areas, Shandi pointed out that they belong to a futuristic phase, indicating that the distribution of relief materials and flour is still going on, but “they are scarce.” A few organizations function in the area, including the Turkish “Humanitarian Relief Foundation” (iHH), while “Violet” Organization has announced the installation of a medical point and the formation of a recovery team to be “at the service of the people”.
The conference’s spokesman demanded the opening of safe crossings, so the people would return to their towns and villages and putting an end to all forms of militarization in Afrin, admitting the deteriorating situation in the city. He also stressed that the upcoming days would witness meetings to “evaluate the situation, define an action mechanism based on the people’s return to their homes as the priority”.
Currently, there are not actual steps neither in relation to the local council’s formation nor to most of the conference’s recommendations; however, the Conference’s organizers, according to Shandi, are seeking “implementation in a very short time”.
The rest of the Conference’s provisions stressed the need to secure and protect civilians in Afrin, opening safe crossings for the people to move in/out of the city and showing respect to the privacy of all the religious, sectarian and ethnic components in the area.
|The “Free Army” controlled the whole city on March 18. Its factions and the Turkish Army are yet working to finalize the southern and last remaining enclave in the area.
Following the control, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that Turkey does not intend to stay in Afrin, pointing out that “it will undertake steps to initiate the area and revive it once more through reconstructing both base and superstructure.”
The President’s statement also held indications to an interest in education, healthcare, magistrateship and all life dimensions, as well as respect for women and their human rights’, illuminating all of forms of militarization in the city, on the condition that Afrin’s “major” families and the heads of the tribes should, supported by Turkey, work to reconstruct the area.
In addition to this, the statement included Turkey’s intention to release all the opinion detainees from Afrin’s centers and a call on national reconciliation among all the city’s components and turning the management of the city and its surrounding to its people.
The conference called for reconciliation inside/outside and in the surrounding of the city and the need to spread the culture of tolerance, as well as the necessity to illuminate revenge and marginalization motifs, in addition to offering guarantees concerning the right to peaceful demonstrations and providing basic needs.