Kobani said the site Turkey claimed it as a mass grave of Kurdish forces' victims is actually a cemetery for fighters killed during Turkey’s invasion of Afrin in 2018.
“Invading Turkish forces have distorted the truth and presented to the global public that the graves of martyrs who defended Afrin during the invasion were a ‘mass grave’,” Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya cited Kobani as saying in a tweet.
According to Iraqi Kurdish news network Rudaw, Afrin Human Rights Organization spokesman Ibrahim Şêxo said the bodies belonged to civilians and YPG fighters who had lost their lives during clashes in 2018. Şêxo said: “This graveyard started at the time when the Turkish army and armed groups started to attack. The people couldn’t properly bury their dead at the cemeteries at the time, so they buried them here. This is not a mass grave, it is a graveyard that belongs to the people.”
An association for family members of deceased YPG fighters also issued a statement, saying some of the newly discovered dead had been members of the YPG, Rudaw said.
Turkey invaded Afrin in early 2018, capturing it from the YPG after weeks of fighting, and installing Syrian militia proxies in place of the Kurdish group.
The invasion displaced tens of thousands of Kurdish civilians and destabilized a region that had previously been spared the levels of violence seen elsewhere in the Syrian conflict.
Ankara claims the YPG is part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The YPG has been the main ally of the United States in its campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria for the past seven years.
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