UN report uncovers systematic abuses in Turkish-occupied Kurdish areas in Syria

One winter day, in a detention center housed in a former school in the occupied city of Afrin, Turkish-sponsored militiamen from the Syrian National Army (ANS) yelled at their Kurdish prisoners the order to come out. of their cells. They gathered them together in the hall of the building for a special occasion, something different from the routine torture and humiliation to which they are usually subjected. A minor Kurdish girl captured in this Syrian Kurdish region had just been torn from her cell and brought before them. In front of the assembled inmates, the jailers raped her, then raped her again, one after the other, forcing them to watch her ordeal.

This episode, of which The world was able to consult the full report, is just one of the many exactions committed by Turkish allies to have caught the attention of investigators from the United Nations International Independent Commission on Syria. Their report on the human rights situation in the country, published on Tuesday, September 15, deals with violations documented by all the actors in the Syrian conflict and describes with hitherto unprecedented authority and in depth the order of terror imposed by Turkey in two Kurdish regions of Syria showing between the lines the responsibility of Ankara in these atrocities.

Result of offensives carried out in 2018 and 2019 against the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the context of the conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on its territory, the Turkish stranglehold on these territories. ‘is installed over the months far from the eyes of international observers.

Unprecedented, because of its precision and its implications, the text drafted under the mandate of the United Nations Human Rights Council now goes so far as to describe, in hollow, Turkey as the occupying power of these territories. A Turkish diplomatic source told the World that Ankara did not yet have a reaction to make, recalling that Turkey had cooperated with the commission’s investigators.

Planned abuse policy

The documented violations were committed in two regions nearly 300 kilometers apart, Afrin and Ras Al-Ain, enclaves controlled by Turkey and subjected to similar abuses, pointing to systematic practices for which those responsible are in Ankara. For the first time, the United Nations report does not content itself with listing isolated acts but a reasoned policy within the framework of which the abuses targeting the Kurdish populations were organized, coordinated and planned.

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