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The illegal logging of the Maydanki lake forest by the Turkish-backed forces in Afrin, Syria

Large-scale deforestation at Maydanki Lake in northern Syria highlights the impact of conflict on environment and local communities. The incident has caused widespread grief and concern among activists and locals.


In 2018, the area of Afrin and its surroundings were taken over by the Turkish-supported Syrian National Army (SNA) during a military operation called Operation Olive Branch. This operation was initiated by Turkey with the aim of pushing back the influence of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) along the Turkish-Syrian border [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:The illegal logging of the Maydanki lake forest by the Turkish-backed forces in Afrin, Syria
Country:Syrian Arab Republic
State or province:Aleppo
Location of conflict:Afrin
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Specific commodities:Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationRural
Affected Population:60,000 to 100,000
Start of the conflict:31/08/2022
Relevant government actors:Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria
The Turkish military
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights
Human rights organization in Afrin
Rojava information center
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The ongoing deforestation in the Afrin region of northern Syria, specifically around Maydanki lake, is a serious issue that continues to have a devastating impact on the environment and local communities.
Despite the fact that local residents and activists have called for accountability and action to stop the logging, it seems that those responsible for the activity have not been held accountable or prosecuted for their
Sources & Materials

[1] ‘Crimes against nature’: Forest clearing around Afrin’s Maydanki Lake sparks anger and shock
[click to view]

[2] An environmental catastrophe... unjust cutting of trees in northern Syria, and the people are angry | Video
[click to view]

[3] Popular resentment and anger over cutting trees in Aleppo and Idlib
[click to view]

[4] Afrin under occupation (166): the town of “Maydanki” - a wide demographic change, the killing of a citizen, the opening of a settlement village, a drug factory, the spread of coronavirus, arbitrary arrests.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

A video clip documenting the "unjust" cutting of trees near Midanki Lake in Afrin countryside
[click to view]

A video shows the extreme level of deforestation on the banks of Maydanki Lake in Turkish-occupied Afrin.
[click to view]

Tree cutting in Afrin. Deforestation and its environmental impacts
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Angham Daiyoub, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona
Last update13/02/2023
Conflict ID:6278
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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