PYNK calls for action against crimes and occupation in Syria

The Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK) welcomed the report issued by the United Nations, which highlighted Turkey's crimes against the Kurdish people, and called on the international community to end the Turkish occupation of Kurdish and Syrian areas.

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."

The Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK) released a statement on the report on Sunday, saying; "Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable, as they are considered war crimes."

The PYNK statement reads as follows:

"The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria issued its report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council at its forty-fifth session between September 14 and October 2, and dated August 14, 2020, which includes charges against terrorist factions of the Syrian Coalition in the Kurdish regions of Afrin, Ras al-Ain and Tal-Abyad under the cover and protection of Turkey, which is responsible for everything that happens in the occupied territories.

These accusations by the committee included violations that reach the level of war crimes, and are attached to evidence, such as "killings, looting, displacement, physical and psychological torture, sexual assaults, ethnic and religious cleansing, theft of historical and religious monuments in the region, starvation and siege policies, and systematic seizure by members of the factions.

We in the Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK) welcome the results of this international report, which highlights a small part of the horrific violations that Turkey and its mercenaries from terrorist factions are pursuing against our people in the occupied Kurdish regions, especially in consideration of Turkey's links and support for various terrorist organizations, foremost of which is ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and camouflaging this by integrating them into the so-called terrorist Syrian National Army.

At the same time, with regard to the special paragraphs in the report related to the areas under the control of the Democratic Autonomous Administration, we refute the allegations and we invite the committee to conduct field visits to the region, to verify the falsehood of these allegations.

We also call on the international community, especially the international coalition forces, America and Russia, the UN Security Council and human rights organizations to do everything that would put an end to these horrific violations by the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries, and to end the Turkish occupation of the Kurdish regions and other Syrian areas, and hold those responsible to account on these crimes, as they are considered war crimes. They must act quickly to curb Turkish recklessness and terrorism, which has become a factor in spreading chaos and terrorism in the region, starting with Syria, Iraq, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, the eastern Mediterranean, Yemen, Libya and others.”