Turkish-backed forces loot Syrian town of Afrin

Fighters loot shops after seizing control of Afrin from Kurdish forces on Sunday.

(CNN)Syrian rebel fighters backed by Turkey went on a looting spree in Afrin on Sunday after seizing control of the Kurdish-held town following a two-month siege, observers said.

After forcing Kurdish fighters from their enclave in northwest Syria, the rebels pillaged private property, political and military sites, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Some locals told SOHR that their houses were completely stripped of their contents.
    A  fighter rides in the back of a pickup truck with looted livestock.
    A Turkish photographer on assignment for Agence France-Presse, who captured the chaotic scenes, told CNN that the looting was widespread and organized, adding that he saw hundreds of opposition fighters more focused on pillaging than celebrating their victory.
    "They are looting everything; goods, animals, goats, even pigeons," Bulent Kilic said. "I've been in war zones for many years now. Two, three guys looting, it happens. I didn't even take much notice at first. But then I saw that they were in such a hurry to take everything from this city."
    Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told CNN on Monday that Ankara was looking into the reports of looting, and suggested that some groups in Afrin might not be following orders from their commanders.
    Rebels loot shops in Afrin.
    Turkey, a NATO ally, launched an operation targeting Kurdish groups -- some backed by the United States -- in Afrin in January to clear the border area of militias it considers to be terrorist organizations.
    More than 150,000 people have been displaced in the last few days from Afrin town, a senior Kurdish official and a monitoring group said over the weekend.
    The UN said last week that it had received reports of opposition fighters looting the homes of some residents who fled Afrin.
    A senior field commander for the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group involved in the battle for Afrin, blamed "some bad apples" within its forces but suggested the looting was not widespread.