Syrian Kurds call for international investigation into war crimes conducted by Turkey in Afrin

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg   Reuters  


In a statement released on Monday, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) called for an international investigation into war crimes committed by the Turkish state. The party said that until now, 150 civilians were killed and 350 injured in the operation that was launched by Turkey and it’s affiliated proxies on 20 January.

“The Turkish occupation army has committed in two weeks, war crimes and deeds that are a disgrace to humanity which require, in accordance with the laws and articles of the UN, immediate action.This is necessary in the case, for instance, of the defiling of the corpses of female martyrs,” the PYD said in a statement received by The Region.

“Thus as we affirm in accordance with every letter in which the conventions of the UN and its courts that judge war criminals and the Geneva conventions are written, that the Turkish state army and its mercenary gang connected with the al-Qaeda organization in its two branches of Da'esh and al-Nusra require international action,” the PYD said.

“And this, if it is done, is a part of their responsibility, and in particular that connected with the mechanism that organized the work of the general assembly and [UN] security council, as these people [Turkey and its mercenaries] are committing massacres, targeting civilians and IDPs, defiling corpses, and destroying places of worship and health centres,” the PYD said.

“And not even the ruins present in Afrin that are thousands of years old have been safe from them, and in its aggressive war on Afrin, the Turkish state has been using Da'esh and Nusra and that is shown through visual and tangible lines of evidence,” the PYD said.

The PYD, furthermore, called on the International security council to take immediate action. 

“We call to form a special verification committee derived from the international security council with the aim of verification on war crimes, crimes against humanity and the genocidal massacres that have been committed during 15 days by the Turkish occupation regime and its mercenary gang in the villages and districts of Afrin, implementing the UN security council resolution 1970,” the statement concluded.

International criticism of the Turkish operation has grown with the number of civilian casualties increasing.

On Monday, international aid organization Oxfam warned that thousands of civilians trapped in Afrin need protection and aid.

“The latest surge in the violence opens a terrifying new chapter in the lives of people in Afrin, many of whom fled to this region to escape fighting in other parts of Syria. Dozens of civilians are reported to have been killed in the cross-fire between warring parties. Thousands of people, including babies, young children, pregnant women and the elderly, are now trapped, facing a terrifying and potentially deadly situation,” Oxfam’s Country Director in Syria, Moutaz Adham said.“

Many people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, so international agencies need to have safe access so they can bring in food and medical supplies that are fast running out. We urge all warring parties to minimize the risks of harming the lives and destroying the homes of thousands of trapped civilians. In the name of humanity, these people who have suffered so much already should be allowed to safely escape the violence,” he concluded.