Turkey Committing War Crimes Against Kurds, SDF Argues to UN, ICC
The Syrian Democratic Forces appealed to multiple international bodies with images of their mutilated soldiers in arguing that Turkey is committing war crimes in northern Syria.
Soldiers from the SDF -- the coalition of Kurds, Assyrians, Arabs, and other ethnic minorities that captured Raqqa from ISIS -- have been responding to Afrin to fight with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and defend civilians from Turkey's onslaught, which began in January.
The UN Security Council demanded a ceasefire two weeks ago for all parties, including President Bashar al-Assad bombing Ghouta, and met today to discuss everyone ignoring the ceasefire. “UNSC, damn your resolution. What is the meaning of a decision that has not been implemented? You are deceiving humanity, you are cheating,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a Tuesday meeting of his Islamist AKP party.
Erdoğan has claimed he's not covered by the ceasefire because his “Operation Olive Branch" against the Kurds is targeting terrorists.
Erdoğan’s spokesman said today that the United States should stop Kurdish fighters from coming to Afrin from elsewhere in the country to defend the city.
The SDF said today that, since Jan. 20, 283 of their coalition fighters have been killed in the Turkish attack, 165 civilians have been killed (including 32 children) and 650 civilians have been wounded. They've counted 1,026 air attacks and 3,307 instances of artillery shelling from the Turks.
In a message today to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights, the SDF said that "what the Turkish forces and the terrorist groups are doing against the Syrian fighters of SDF, YPG and YPJ by torturing and mutilating their corpses amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity."
The SDF proceeded to cite pertaining passages from the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Convention and the Rome Statute of the ICC while including photos and video links of what they say are war crimes.
Video posted online showed Turkey-backed Syrian fighters surrounding the body of Amina Omar, a Kurdish YPJ fighter, chanting "Allahu Akbar" before undressing and mutilating her corpse. One of the fighters can be heard saying, "Man, she’s pretty."
Video was also posted of the body of Ahmad Muhammad Hanan being mutilated after his Feb. 8 death. SDF fighter Ali Hamo was captured alive and tortured to death on Feb. 22 in Raju- kefreh Ker village; video was likewise posted online, and some of his captors are dressed in sophisticated military gear unlike the Turkey-backed rebels.
"For more than 47 days, the Turkish state and its terrorist factions of ISIS and Al-Nusra front have launched an aggression and open warfare on Afrin enclave, using various types of weapon and troops," YPG General Command said in a statement today.
"As everyone knows, Afrin’s sky was protected by the Russian Federation air forces, and if it hadn’t been the Russian approval, the Turkish air forces would not be able to penetrate the Syrian space and carry out their airstrikes and aggression," the Kurdish force said. "It is clear now that the Russian Federation complicit with the Turkish state by opening her airspace for the Turkish state allowing her to commit massacre against the civilians in Afrin. The Russian complicity came after many failure attempts by the Russian to extort People’s Protection Units and the political administration in Afrin, and impose Russian private agendas which have no benefits for the Syrian people."
"Because of the Russian Federation agreement with the Turkish state by allowing her to carry out ethnic cleansing and force the people in Afrin to displacement, it is obvious now that the Russian Federation is a partner with the Turkish state in shedding the blood of the Kurdish innocent people."