Abdi: The UN report is just a small part of the war crimes
“The international community should hold the parties accountable for war crimes and take serious action to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes and bring them to justice,” said the SDF Commander-in-Chief.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic published a 25-page report on August 14 presenting its findings based on investigations conducted from 11 January 2020 to 1 July 2020.
Documenting continuing violations and abuses by nearly every conflict actor controlling territory in Syria, the report 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.
In Afrin and surrounding area, the report documents how the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army may have committed the war crimes of hostage-taking, cruel treatment and torture, and rape. 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 also received reports of forced marriage and the abduction of Kurdish women in Afrin and Ra’s al-Ayn [Serêkaniyê], which primarily involved members of Division 24 (the Sultan Murad Brigade) of the Syrian National Army."
In a Twitter post on the documented facts, Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi said: “The report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry is a just small part of the war crimes committed by the armed factions against our people in Afrin, Serekaniye and Tal Abyad, with political cover from Turkey. The international community should hold the parties accountable for war crimes and take serious action to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes and bring them to justice.”
The SDF Commander General added: “In the section that concerns our forces, there is an unjustified disregard for the fact that the issue of Al-Hol camp is complex and has an international dimension. Most of the 84 countries refuse to receive their citizens from the camp, while international organizations have reduced their role to some humanitarian aid. We confirm that we have started an investigation into the cases mentioned in the report that accuse our forces.”