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 young underage girl captured in this Syrian Kurdish region had just been torn from her cell and brought before them. The young girl was Kurdish and, under the eyes of the assembled inmates, the jailers raped her, then raped her again, one after the other, forcing them to watch her torture.

This episode, of which The world was able to consult the full report, is just one exaction among many that has 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, from the Damascus regime to the jihadists of the Hayat Tahrir Al-Cham group, including the forces. Kurds and their allies. However, he describes with hitherto unprecedented authority and in depth the order of terror imposed on the Kurdish regions of Syria which came under the control of Turkey and its Syrian Islamist auxiliaries at the beginning of 2018, since the operation “Olive branch “. 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.

Carried out against the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Afrin region, this operation has since resulted in a situation of occupation, reproduced after a second offensive in the northeast of the country. Unprecedented, because of its precision and its implications, the text drafted under the mandate of the United Nations Human Rights Council underlines Ankara’s responsibility for these serious violations, and goes so far as to describe, in hollow , Turkey as the occupying power of these territories, a statute potentially fraught with consequences.

Planned abuse policy

These violations are committed in two territories nearly 300 kilometers apart, Afrin and Ras Al-Aïn, which have been targeted by Turkish offensives in the context of the conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including the SDF. are, from the Turkish point of view, only an emanation. These two enclaves passed under the domination of the Turkish armed forces are, according to the report of the UN commission of inquiry, subjected to similar abuses, which points to systematic practices for which those responsible are in Ankara.

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