ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An activist group has reported that its sources confirmed “11 Yezidi civilians” were kidnapped by gunmen in Afrin.
“[T]en vehicles carrying masked gunmen stormed houses and arrested people. The group later released a man named Hanan Prem after torturing him and demanding a ransom of $25,000 for his release,” Yazda wrote in a statement on Friday.
Afrin is a city in northwestern Syria that came under the control of the Turkish military and proxy fighters in March after a nearly two-month battle against Kurdish YPG forces.
“Yazidi civilians from Qatma village near Afrin were taken by militia members to an unknown destination [on Thursday],” according to Yazda.
Yazda is a Yezidi activist group based in the Kurdistan Region and the United States with several international offices.
Afrin is a diverse area of Syria, home to Kurds, Yezidis, Arabs, Christians, and other components.
It had been controlled by the Kurdish-majority YPG (People’s Protection Units) until the Turkish assault.
“Yazda calls on Turkey, the United Nations, and the international community, including involving security actors in this region, to search for and liberate kidnapped Yazidi civilians immediately,” wrote the organization.
“We lost Naji Barjas in Sinjar by an IED left behind by ISIS. He returned to his home and the bomb exploded. We continue 2 call on Iraq and the international community to de-mine Yazidi areas. Sinjar needs to be a priority-350,000 Yaidis are living in IDP camps and they need to go home,” she tweeted on Saturday morning.