The Syrian Democratic Council

45 Human Rights Organizations Accuse Turkey Of Committing War Crimes In Afrin

In conjunction with the siege of military headquarters and unprecedented clashes among mercenary factions affiliated to Turkish state in Afrin, in northwest Syria, and in light of ongoing security chaos in the region, 45 Syrian human rights organizations called for an end to the suffering of Afrin people, to stop daily violations against them, returning forcibly displaced persons and hand over the administration of the area to an independent civilian council from local people.
The organizations said, in a joint statement, that over months and years following Turkey’s control of Afrin, the region witnessed thousands of violations against its original people, which ranged from seizure of property of population to arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, looting and pillage.
The joint statement said that the international investigation committee formed by the United Nations, in its recent report, monitored continuation of violations in Afrin, where armed groups under the umbrella of what has been called “the Syrian National Army”, which is supported by Turkey, committed war crimes and violations of the right to property .
The organizations said that the violations were committed and are still being committed in Afrin as “part of a policy that aims to bring about a broad demographic change in the region, change its identity and demographic structure, where figures provided by identical sources (local and Syrian) indicate a forced displacement movement that led to more displacement than 65% of original population of the region after the military operation “Olive Branch” launched by Turkey, while the region itself contained tens of thousands of internally displaced people from different Syrian regions before the invasion.
The organizations that signed the statement condemned the attack that took place in Afrin during the month of Ramadan, and called for those involved to be held accountable, “whoever is behind the bombing”.
The joint statement called on the international community, represented by the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and NATO, to “take immediate measures to protect the civilian population in Afrin, and to hold the Turkish government accountable under the Fourth Geneva Convention, including its primary responsibility as an occupying force.”
The organizations also called for ensuring the safety of population and monitoring cases of forced displacement, in addition to ensuring the return of native people to their homes, stopping the widespread ethnic targeting “Turkification” by changing the names of sites, villages and cultural heritage sites in the region, in addition to taking immediate measures to remove the “ extremist factions” from Afrin and ensuring returning of all displaced people who were forced to leave the area, returning stolen property, compensate the affected persons and preserve the identity of the area.
The statement called for the issuance of an international resolution obliging Turkish government to “end its occupation of all Syrian regions within a specific timetable, ensure the prosecution of all perpetrators of human rights violations in Afrin and pledge to compensate the affected people without any discrimination.”