International solidarity is needed to prevent mass atrocities against Arab and Kurdish citizens in the North East of Syria, PAX’ partners in Syria claim.
Now that president Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from that region, the way is paved for a long anticipated Turkish offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group of local militias formed to fight the Islamic State. Fears are that this will lead to mass destruction and killing and displacement of Kurdish and Arab communities.
The previous Turkish operation in the Kurdish dominated Afrin area of Syria already resulted in gross human rights violations and displacement of thousands of civilians by jihadist-linked armed groups. President Erdogan made also clear last month that he aims to resettle over 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to this area, which amounts to demographic engineering and ethnic cleansing. European countries expressed their concern that that this move will lead to a resurgence of ISIS activities, as the Syrian Democratic Forces will refocus their fight on the Turkish invasion.
PAX works in the north east of Syria with a range of local and international partners to address the issues around minority rights, inclusive citizenship and the wider impacts of the conflict on the lives and livelihoods of Syrian citizens. We call upon the Dutch government to actively work with European countries to prevent such an attack and build towards a peaceful solution in this region.
PAX’ local partners in north east of Syria, which work for inclusivity, democracy and peace, call for international solidarity and have asked the UN, EU and the US-led Coalition against ISIS to act against the possible mass destruction and killing of civilians in the following statement.
"Turkey’s intention to wage a war on Rojava, North East Syria will cause dramatic consequences such as new mass forced migration and directly affect the life of 6 million civilians. Further, this will revive ISIS and might cause the release of more than 12.000 fighters held in SDF detentions in North East Syria.
As civil society actors we call on EU UN and USCoalition to take responsibilities to prevent this war and avoid a potential mass destruction and killing of civilians in North East Syria. The potential war will affect not only peace in Syria but also in Iraq."Protection of Civilians, Middle East