The Syrian Democratic Council

The closing statement of the two seminars on the occupation of Afrin in Aleppo and Al-Shahbaa

Under the slogan

” Afrin, it is resistant and steadfast….

 Afrin is remaining and the occupiers are departing“

At the invitation of the Syrian Democratic Council in which the invitation entitled (A seminar on the Occupation of Afrin). Two seminars were held in Aleppo and Al-Shahbaa sub-district, which included more than two hundred people, who were subjected to violations by the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries, in which they were defenseless and original civilian population of Afrin, as well as politicians, researchers, representatives of civil society institutions, clan notables and clerics from all components of Afrin region. In which the attendees discussed, on 25 and 27 January, the reasons for the occupation and violations of the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries of Afrin in its various political, historical, cultural, religious, social, and human rights meanings, and the systematic extermination, demographic change and ethnic cleansing operations, the last of which was the massacre of Tal Rifaat, which was committed by the Turkish occupation state on 23 January, 2021 AD, in which four people were killed and nine wounded civilians from Afrin, unarmed civilians, and because of these violations have negative repercussions on the future of the region and the whole of Syria in the long term, in addition to looking for methods to stop these operations and holding the perpetrators accountable in accordance with international laws and conventions, and how to deal with the repercussions resulting from those operations through the participation of the attendees, their speeches and their inquiries.

The people who were in the seminar appreciated the pioneering role played by the People’s Protection forces and Women and the Afrin Liberation Forces through resisting the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries and their acts which are contrary to all international charters and covenants.

We are as members of the Syrian Democratic Council while expressing our gratitude and appreciation for all the contributions, speeches and valuable questions raised by the attendees, we present our recommendations to the world public opinion our, which are the most important points agreed upon by the people who are gathered because of the seminar, which aim for ending the occupation and the safe return of displaced people forcibly to their areas with international guarantees, holding the perpetrators accountable, bringing them to justice and compensating those affected by these violations, all these aims within the international law and the relevant United Nations charters, which are as follows:

”Recommendations”

* Call for an end to the Turkish occupation and in implementation of the provisions of UN Resolution 2254, support all measures and steps that guarantee the voluntary and safe return of displaced residents of Afrin forcibly to their areas with international guarantees, and the restoration of their property through all legitimate means guaranteed by international law, covenants, and international humanitarian charters.

* Because of the violations that Afrin has been subjected to through the forms of displacement, killing, targeting civilians, and settling settlers in it, in which more than (300) thousand civilians have been displaced, and now the percentage of Kurds in Afrin does not exceed (23%),although that they constituted before the occupation (96%), and the settlement of nearly (400) thousand settlers there, and the kidnapping of more than (7366) civilians, more than half of them are still unknown, in addition to the killing of more than (604) civilians, including (489)people were killed because of the Turkish bombing and (82)people because of torture, and injured (214)people as a result of mine and booby traps .These serious violations contradict all international covenants, and through a media blackout and international silence, it requires more diplomatic efforts to urge the international community to carry out its moral responsibilities by providing urgent assistance to the displaced people and allowing the entry of humanitarian, human rights and media organizations of an international and neutral nature to inform the world public opinion of what is happening in Afrin and exposing the agendas, acts and violations of the Turkish state and its mercenaries.

* Setting up a common strategy by the coalition and the international community to combat the policies and violations of the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries represented by the demographic change and ethnic cleansing in all security, intellectual, cultural, economic, social and legal aspects, because the continuation of the Turkish occupation is the continuation of the revival of ISIS and extremist organizations, and thus the continuing threats to international peace and security.

* To achieve security, stability and political transition in Syria, there is a need for a new democratic political system to eliminate the sources that revive terrorism and extremist organizations. The Autonomous Administration project as a lived experience for years is considered a model for a solution and a peace project if it is applied throughout Syria.

* In implementation of the Security Council resolutions related to combating terrorism and extremism, and to achieve justice and establish a court of an international character in the regions of northern and eastern Syria to prosecute the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries, especially those of foreign nationalities, and provide redress for those were affected because of the occupation.

* Because of the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries committed violations against childhood and women, including kidnapping, killing, arrests, rape, forced marriage, displacement and imposing clothing according to their beliefs, in which it was documented that 70 cases of murder, (69) rape cases, (213) women were wounded, (303) children were wounded out of (696) injured cases. Therefore, in order for women to be able to protect their freedom and live in dignity, the occupation must be ended and there is an urgent need for a new political, legal, social and cultural system in the occupied regions that guarantees women’s rights in all fields.

* Because of the Kurdish people in Afrin have been subjected to a mass cultural and physical genocide, which is a crime of aggression and a crime against humanity by the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries, we therefore call for recognition of this genocide by the United Nations, and to ensure the protection of the rights of the Kurdish people of all sects and beliefs in Afrin by recognizing their rights and respecting their choices, which is a must to protect this authentic people.

* Work for the immediate stopping all practices and attacks of the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries against the environment and agricultural wealth including cutting large numbers of olive trees and stealing the people’s livelihood. So far, it has been documented that (315100)trees have cut, (11000) olive trees and other forest trees have burned, and a third of the area designated for cultivation, which is estimated at 11,600,000 hectares, has burned. This has negative repercussions on the living situation, depletes the capabilities of the people and the infrastructure, so the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

* All media, human rights and legal reports confirm the violations that contradict all international and humanitarian covenants through the destruction, theft and looting of historical monuments and religious shrines by the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries, in implementation of its colonial policies aimed to obliterate the authentic culture and identity of the region, in which it was documented the destruction by the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries for (28) archaeological sites out of (75) archaeological hills, in addition to vandalism and tampering with more than (15) religious shrines of different religions and sects, razing many cemeteries and turning one of them into a livestock market. Therefore, it requires harnessing all efforts and capabilities to stop these practices, search for methods to recover the looted and stolen antiquities, hold the perpetrators accountable, and to set all relevant institutions to carry out their responsibilities, foremost of them which is UNESCO.

* Forming a follow-up committee under the auspices and supervision of the Syrian Democratic Council, and the partnership with organizations and institutions of an international character, that monitors and documents all violations that Afrin is exposed to, including kidnapping, killing, destruction of infrastructure, theft, looting and appropriation of property including lands and immovables, imposing Turkification policies by changing the names of villages, places and teaching in the Turkish language, granting Turkish citizenships, forced displacement, suppression of religious freedoms, targeting the history of the region by destroying and looting its antiquities.

Summary: We say that the Turkish state is the one that diverted the Syrian opposition from its national path and eliminated it completely. In order to revive the national opposition, it must develop the internal dialogue and continue the Kurdish dialogue to strengthen the home front of the Syrian people, starting from the areas under the control of the Syrian regime to the areas that are under the control of the Turkish occupation and the Autonomous Administration regions.

Note: All the documents contained in the statement belong to a human rights organization in Afrin – Syria, from March 18, 2020 until now.

Syrian Democratic Council

January 27, 2021