Kongra Star letter to UN officials calls for action against Turkish war crimes in North-East Syria
In recent weeks, Turkey has intensified its attacks on the region of North and East Syria, committing war crimes on daily basis. The women's movement Kongra Star has written a letter to UN officials calling for urgent action against these crimes.
Kongra Star, the umbrella organisation of women’s groups in North and East Syria, wrote a letter to members of the UN Security Council, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Honorable members of the UN Security Council. The organization appeals to the authorities to take on their duty and responsibility and fulfill the role assigned to them to achieve security and stability in Syria.
The letter by the Kongra Star Center for Democratic Relations and Diplomacy Syria includes the following:
“Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Turkish state, in cooperation with its proxy terrorist factions, have perpetrated a continuous offensive on North and East Syria. This offensive has used all kinds of heavy and light weaponry and warplanes. Its aim is to thwart the democratic project that is proposed as an alternative solution to the Syrian crisis, and to continue the Turkish state’s Neo-Ottoman occupation plan, bypassing all international law in the context of good neighborliness and respect for the sovereignty of states. Its violations and crimes have continued throughout its occupation of Jarablus, Al-Bab, Azaz and Afrin, to Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Gire Spî (Tal Abyad).
Despite the commitment of the Syrian Democratic Forces in North-East Syria to honour the cease-fire in the region, the Turkish state has failed to uphold this treaty. On the contrary, it has increased its attacks on the region in general and the areas to the east of the Euphrates in particular.
The areas of Zirgan (Abu Rassein), Til Temer, al-Shahba, and the countryside of Minbij are witnessing indiscriminate shelling that targets civilians and military personnel by the Turkish army and its armed factions. This has led to the death of a woman and a girl and the injury of 16 others. A military drone targeted the Public Relations Centre of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the town of Til Temer, which led to the death of four members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. This is in addition to its bombing of the Assyrian village of Til Shenan in the northeastern countryside of Til Temer, as well as targeting cars of political, military, and administrative figures in both Kobani and Qamishlo. It’s clear that they don’t differentiate between targeting civilians or soldiers. The Turkish state aims to depopulate the region, expand its occupation, and bring about demographic change in new areas. The Turkish state and its armed factions have not hesitated to destroy homes, kill civilians (including women and children), kidnap, arrest them and have them thrown into prison to face the most horrific forms of torture and inhumane treatment.
What is happening in the region of Til Temer is a continuation of the violations committed by Turkey and its factions in Khabour, Idlib, Afrin, Jarablus, Gire Spi (Tal Abyad), Serekaniye (Ras al- Ain) and Kobani. This is a blatant violation of the principles and provisions stipulated in international law, and a violation of the principles and provisions of humanitarian law. Humanitarian law prohibits attacks on civilians, women and children under the four Geneva Conventions and their two protocols. It is a violation of all UN resolutions regarding women and protecting them in times of conflict.
These attacks also constitute a flagrant violation of the two International Covenants on Civil, Political, Economic and Social Rights of 1966; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted in Rome in 1950, (known as the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights) and its 12 protocols.
It is a violation of the 1990 Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly regarding persons who belong to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, and the International Convention on the Political Rights of Women. It also violates the agreement to stop the tripartite military hostilities of the Turkish state with Russia and America in northeastern Syria of the 22 October, 2019 during the Turkish invasion on Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Gire Spî (Tal Abyad).
The silence and the ambiguous position of the international community and the guarantor states for the cease fire, such as the United States and Russia, encourage the Turkish state to intensify its attacks and encroach on the sovereignty of the Syrian territory. It allows for the Turkish state to commit violations and war crimes against the civilians of the regions in which all parties, ethnic and religious groups coexist in a fraternal manner.
As the committee of democratic relations and agreements of Kongra Star, the umbrella organisation of women’s groups in North and East Syria, we appeal to you to take on your duty and responsibility and fulfill the role assigned to you to achieve security and stability in Syria, and we demand the following:
1- To prevent further barbaric attacks and hostilities, and to protect a ceasefire.
2- To impose a no-fly zone in North and East Syria.
3- To form a fact-finding committee and to send it to North and East Syria to investigate the crimes committed by the Turkish state and its affiliated factions.
4- To demand the Turkish State end its occupation and intervention in North and East Syria.
5- To guarantee the safe return of refugees to their homes under international statute.”