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PAX: Turkey, stop offensive!

10-10-2019

The Turkish offensive in north-east Syria has started. Villages and cities alongside the border have been bombed and are under fire of artillery. Turkish troops are entering Syria to fight, with the help of mainly Arab loyal militias, mainly Kurdish forces. Reportedly one aim is to create a “safe zone”, to be emptied for the “resettlement” of 2 million Syrian refugees that are now residing in Turkey.

International solidarity

Terrified civilians are fleeing towards the south. Our Syrian partners and friends are working and preparing for providing shelter for refugees from the war zones; they warn of the consequences of the military action and call for international solidarity with the civilians and international action to stop the military offensive immediately.

PAX fully supports their call. We express our solidarity with all civilians in the war zones in Syria: the people in north-east who are currently being attacked, and the 3 million people in Idlib who are under attack. We also express our solidarity with Syrian refugees in Turkey who are in danger of being deported to Syria. We especially express solidarity with our brave partners and friends in North East Syria who are doing everything they can to help civilians in need and to prevent further tensions between the different groups.

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Hate speech

PAX especially warns for the fate of Kurdish civilians in the North East of Syria. Like last year in Afrin, the Turkish offensive is carried out with the help of some Arab militias that have been very clear about their intentions toward Kurdish fighters and civilians. On social media videos are being spread that call for the “killing of infidels”. This kind of hate speech and potential targeted violence is clearly dangerous and unacceptable.

PAX calls furthermore for:

  • Support and assistance to enable Civil Society organizations and our partners to continue their work.
  • For all diplomatic and military partners of Turkey – including the UN, EU, NATO, and bilateral partners – to pressure Turkey to refrain from any further escalation and attacks in north-east Syria.  
  • EU member states to demand guarantees from Turkey that Syrian civilians of any group in the region under Turkish control are not forcibly displaced and that Syrian refugees in Turkey are not returned to Syria against their will, and in clear violation of the principle of safe and voluntary repatriation. Syria is not safe. The so called ‘safe zones’ are in fact death traps.
  • The EU and member states to guarantee that none of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey is used to enable the forced return of refugees to Syria.  
  • European countries should repatriate European suspected ISIS fighters in order to bring them to justice in their home countries and repatriate all children from suspected ISIS fighters.
  • International attention for the fate of the 3 million civilians trapped in Idlib and for international action to address their immediate needs.
  • Recognition that civilians in Idlib are also at risk of becoming victims of mass population transfers, all possible action by diplomatic partners of Turkey to prevent these scenarios.

Our Syrian partners receive displaced persons and offer them shelter and food. To continue doing this they need help. Are you able to support them with a donation?

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Read also: Idlib Calling: These are the real people

 

 

Middle East

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