Turkey took advantage of the collapse of the security situation in Syria to occupy parts of its war-torn southern neighbor.

A general photo of the Mahmoudiya district in Afrin

June 14, 2018 | Afrin, northern Syria, in 2018 months after Turkish-backed Syrian rebels seized the Kurdish-majority city from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG is the primary component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Arab-Kurdish forces based in eastern Syria and backed by the US-led international coalition to fight Islamic State group (ISIS) a terrorist group.

However, Turkey designated YPG a terrorist group and leads other operations separate from its Western allies and occupies parts of northern Syria, including the Afrin region, under the pretext of fighting a terrorist group.

A firewood seller in the city of Afrin, photo dated 22 October 2018

Turkey funds the Syrian National Army (SNA) rebels and the Syrian Interim Government as a pretext for its operations in Syria.

Human rights organizations accuse Turkey and the SNA of committing widespread human rights violations in Afrin, including kidnappings, sexual assaults and murders.

Afrin faced a large-scale robberies by SNA, according to photos published in 2018 by AFP.

A firewood seller in the city of Afrin, photo dated 22 October 2018

The city’s trees were randomly cut down after civilians abandoned their home, farms and displaced as a result of the Turkish occupation.

The UK-beasd Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), estimated that 200,000 people have been displaced from Afrin.

A photo showing the main square in the city of Afrin, known as the Newroz roundabout in 11 July 2018

Afrin was a small city inhabited by peaceful and simple people who used to depend before the Syrian war that broke out in 2011 on olive trees and olive presses. The city was famous for its high quality olive oil.

The city consists of three main streets, Villas Street, Market Street, and Mahmoudiya Street. These three streets are connected to each other by Al-Nayrouz Roundabout.

An image showing the Market Street in the city of Afrin, on June 14, 2018

While Turkey was seizing Afrin, the Syrian-Russian alliance forces were seizing rebel-controlled areas in the east and south of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The alliance displaced thousands of Arab civilians and fighters from these areas towards Afrin, under Russian and Turkish supervision, which led to a demographic change in the city.

Workers from the local council in the city of Afrin at the entrance to Villas Street in the city in 2018 11 July 2018

Turkey established local police forces and military police forces in the city, however the city is under the most collapsed security situation in Syria.

Workers from the local council in Afrin in the Nowruz roundabout in 11 July 2018

The Turkish-backed local council tried to carry out some service work in the city, but it is seen as a force supported by an occupation forces.

In Jun 2022, people stormed the city council and the electricity company and burned them in response to local corruption

Workers from the local council in Afrin have behind them a member of the military police and a member of the civil police funded by Turkey in 11 July 2018

In Oct 2022 parts of Afrin have been taken over by Tahrir al-Sham, the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria that controls Idlib province south of Afrin region.

The Syrian war, which has been raging since 2011, has resulted in the displacement of about 12 million Syrians from their homes, according to the United Nations.