UN: Turkish-jihadists commit war crimes in Rojava
by Roni Alasor
Brussels, 18 September 2020 - Middle East Diplomatic - In a press release, the UN Syrian Commission of Inquiry documenting that the Turkish backed jihadist-terrorists carries out war crimes in the occupied Afrin, Serêkaniyê and in Gire Spi regions in Kurdish Rojava. This is including abductions, disappearances, gender-based violence, kidnapping, killing and terror actions.
The 25 pages of UN Syrian Commission of Inquiry report also highlights an increase in patterns of targeted abuses such as assassinations, sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, and looting or appropriation of private property, with sectarian undertones. Civilian suffering is a constant and personal feature of this crisis.
In Afrin and surrounding area, the report documents how the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army may have committed the war crimes of In the same region scores of civilians were killed and maimed by large improvised explosive devices, as well as during shelling and rocket attacks.
In particular the report said: "Since 2019, Kurdish women throughout the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) regions have faced acts of intimidation by Syrian National Army brigade members, engendering a pervasive climate of fear which in effect confined them to their homes. Women and girls have also been detained by Syrian National Army fighters, and subjected to rape and sexual violence – causing severe physical and psychological harm at the individual level, as well as at the community level, owing to stigma and cultural norms related to ideations of “female honour”.
During the period under review, cases of sexual violence against women and men at one detention facility in Afrin were documented.
“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that the called Syrian National Army (SNA), in particular members of Division 14, Brigade 142 (the Suleiman Shah Brigade), Division 22 (the Hamza Brigade) and Division 24 (the Sultan Murad Brigade), repeatedly perpetrated the war crime of pillage in both the Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn regions (Sari Kani) and may also be responsible for the war crime of destroying or seizing the property of an adversary,” the report stated.
In early 2018, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in the northwest corner of Syria.
In the fall of 2019, Turkey began a new operation, Peace Spring, against Kurdish forces along the border. The campaign ended with ceasefires brokered by Washington and Moscow that saw the SDF pull back from the border and around the towns of Sari Kani and Gire Spi (Tel Abyad in Arabic).