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SYRIAN-KURDISH peacemaker Hevrin Khalaf was executed by a faction of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), new evidence suggested today.
A BBC investigation suggests that the 34-year-old political leader was deliberately killed by the rebel group Ahrar al-Sharqiya, which fights for the SNA.
Hevrin, the Future Syria Party’s (FSP) secretary general, was shot 20 times in an ambush in north-eastern Syria on October 12 during a Turkish-led offensive to push back the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from its borders.
Backing up claims previously made by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), footage obtained by the BBC indicates that Ms Khalaf was violently removed from her car during an attack and executed.
Her vehicle, which had bulletproof windows, was shot at by Ahrar al-Sharqiya while driving on a motorway, blowing out the tyres and causing it to crash.
Hevrin’s driver, Farhad Ramadan, was apparently killed instantly.
The video, filmed by an Ahrar al-Sharqiya member, then shows fighters surrounding Hevrin’s car as one says: “Here’s another runaway pig who was eliminated by the SNA.”
A female voice from inside the car, identified by her mother to be Hevrin’s, is also heard — proving that she was alive and able to identify herself.
An anonymous eyewitness told the investigation that he found Ms Khalaf’s body about five metres away from the car and that her face was completely disfigured.
Medical examinations showed that both Hevrin’s legs were broken and that she was subjected to severe physical assault, indicating she was dragged from the car alive, physically attacked and executed outside the car.
The video also shows fighters arresting people and then executing one person on the road after taking over the checkpoint Hevrin was killed at.
Hevrin campaigned for unity in Arab and Kurdish areas of Syria and was a vocal opponent to Turkey’s operation in the region.
The SNA, an umbrella group of 41 factions, was formed by Turkey in 2019 and has been fighting Kurdish forces in Syria since the US forces pulled out, paving the way for Turkey’s military operation.
Hevrin’s assistant, Nubahar Mustafa, told the BBC that she had “lost a sister, a comrade and a leader.”
Ms Mustafa said: “We lost a woman who was working on empowering women and who worked on achieving unity and peace.”
She travels the same routes as Hevrin on a daily basis and said that all the campaigners for the party can be “expected to meet a similar fate.”
“Syria always seeks people who can play leading roles in the current crisis,” Ms Mustafa said. “Comrade Hevrin was playing that lead role. She was a big loss for the Syrian people who lost one of their greatest symbols.”
Ahrar al-Sharqiya claimed not to know that Hevrin was inside the car and denied any responsibility for her death, although it admitted that a number of its fighters were at the checkpoint and opened fire on a car it claimed had failed to stop.
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