The Free Syrian Army has been accused of mutilating the body of a fallen YPJ female Kurdish fighter in the contested city of Afrin. The YPJ fighter appears to have been shot in the chest and then (post-mortem) had her breasts cut off. In a public statement made by the FSA Chief of Staff, Salim Idris, he declared that a committee has been formed to address “these allegations and investigate directly, and with proof.” He said, “We affirm that Free Syrian Army works in the framework of Operation Olive Branch to liberate our Kurdish people and our Syrian land invaded by YPG militia terrorists,” and, “We will treat captives and fighters of militia terrorists in accordance with our Sharia and religion.” The FSA are a proxy militia under Turkish command that were once trained and funded by the United States.
The response from the FSA high command was triggered by a video that has emerged all over social media showing the dead and mutilated Kurdish woman half-dressed in the uniform of the YPG/YPJ. The woman has been identified as Barin Kobani and she was killed during combat operations near the village of Qarnah that is just north of Afrin. In the video, a group of men wearing various camouflage patterns of uniforms surround the body of the YPJ fighter, her pants pulled down and blouse pulled up exposing her mutilated chest which appears to be caused by lacerations. One of the men is heard saying, “This is the pigs of the PKK.”
Another FSA official and spokesman, Mustafa Bali told local media that, “neither the FSA nor the Turkish army will accept such conduct,” and that it was carried out, “on an individual level and the perpetrator/s will face measures.” He later said that, “the problem is not whether the fighter is Kurdish or non-Kurdish, the problem is the scenario in general,” he would go on to defend the FSA, denying it conformed to Islamist ideologies like the known terror groups in the region. When questioned about the role woman should play in society, Bali would go on to say that the FSA believed their purpose should be home and tend to the kitchen/house rather than fight a war.
The YPJ later released a statement that expressed worry about “the silent public opinion [who] watched the brutal scenes” of the FSA fighters who “played with the corpse of one of our fighters,” and, “Fighting in Bulbul district was the hot spot of clashes between our fighters and the invading forces. As a result of the fierce battles there, four female YPJ fighters raised to the rank of martyrdom after they demonstrated heroic resistance against the invading groups. Their corpses fell into the hands of the invaders who were playing with their bodies.”
Aldair Khalil, a ranking member in the head coalition of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) shamed the actions in a tweet that read, “The immoral acts by the terrorists who paraded the body of the martyr Barin Kobani is not new because these [groups] are mercenaries and are a plague on Syria and the region and represent moral decadence.”