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‘An insult to women’ everywhere: Afrin kidnappings prompt calls for investigation of Turkey-backed rebels

A video reportedly showing detained women inside a secret prison in Afrin has prompted further criticism of Turkey's proxy forces operating in Syria.
Women hold food aid distributed by humanitarian institutions in Afrin, Syria March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RC169F36FD00

A video showing Kurdish women believed to have been kidnapped by a rebel group in the northern Syrian city of Afrin has renewed calls for an independent investigation of Turkey’s proxy forces operating in the region. 

After deadly clashes erupted last week among various Turkey-backed factions in the city, fighters from the Jaysh al-Islam group reportedly attacked a detention center run by another Turkey-backed faction, Hamza Division. Kurdish authorities say a video that emerged on social media shows eight women inside the secret prison, all of whom were abducted for ransom and found naked and abused. 

“They were subjected to all sorts of immoral treatment and abuses by the notorious groups linked to Turkey," the Kurdish-led autonomous administration said in a statement. “We demand an international investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable for these violations.” 

TEV-DEM, an umbrella group of Syrian Kurdish parties, called the kidnapping “an insult to women all over the world,” and said the responsibility lies with the United Nations, “which has lost its legitimate role in the region.” 

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