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Assassination of Hevrin Khalaf by Turkey-backed Syrian National Army

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The dream of Syrian democracy died a brutal death on the morning of 12 October 2019, with the murder of Syrian Kurdish leader, Hevrin Khalaf.

The dream of Syrian democracy died a brutal death on the morning of 12 October 2019, with the murder of Syrian Kurdish leader, Hevrin Khalaf. As per the statement issued by the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Khalaf was “taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions”. The militant group Ahrar al-Sharqiya, which fights for the Syrian National Army (SNA), who was accused of her murder, outrightly denied conspiring Khalaf’s assassination.

As per the recent investigations, led by BBC News Arabic, members of Ahrar al-Sharqiya confirmed that on the morning of October 12, their convey was passing through the same route, M4 motorway, on which Khalaf’s car was. Khalaf who was the Secretary-General of Future Syria Party was travelling from al-Hasakah towards the party’s headquarters in Raqqa when she was attacked and killed.

Eyewitnesses reported that they saw a military convey of SNA (including members of Ahrar al-Sharqiya who receives their military training from Turkey), entering Syria from Turkey at about 7 am. SNA is an umbrella organisation which includes 41 factions and about 70,000 soldiers. It was formed and supported by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2019, in the name of bringing peace and stability in the regime. These were trained primarily to fight and evacuate Kurdish forces in North Eastern Syria, since US forces pulled out. Seeing the opportunity Turkey launched the military operation in October 2019 to establish its hold over the country.

A video shot by one member of the mercenary group, Ahrar al-Sharqiya, showed that they arrested and executed people after taking over the Tirwaziya checkpoint, on M4 highway. A member of the jihadist group confirmed shooting at a bullet proof car which did not stop but added that they did not specifically target the 34-year old Syrian-Kurdish political leader.

While the investigation report revealed contrary to their statement. She was very much alive when the SNA fighters attacked her car. She was dragged out and killed brutally. As per the medical report, Hevrin was shot at more than 20 times, both of her legs were broken and her faced was badly disfigured.

Khalaf was working towards the unity of Khurd and Syrians and was a key propagator of Syrian democracy. She openly opposed Turkish occupation of Syria. Erdogan’s silence over the assassination of the Kurdish leader speaks volumes of the level of Turkish involvement in the act of butchery.

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