Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Mr. Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
Mr. Geir Pedersen, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria,
Today, the 9th of October 2020, marks the passage of one year of the occupation of the Turkish army and the pro-Turkish extremist radical factions of the cities Serekaniye/Ras Al-Ain and Gire Spi/Tell Abyad.
On October 9th, 2019, the Turkish army and extremist factions loyal to them, launched a ground and air attack targeting the cities of Serekaniye/Ras Al-Ain in Al-Hasaka governorate and Gire Spi/Tell Abyad in Raqqa governorate, under the name “Peace Spring” operation. As a result, it caused the death of dozens of victims, including children, women, and men, not to mention, the displacement of more than 200,000 civilians towards safe areas in the governorates of Raqqa and Al-Hasaka.
As the organizations’ signatories to this letter, we condemn the Turkish forces and extremist factions loyal to them of continuing to carry out ethnic and mass genocide, targeting unarmed civilians, kidnapping, murder, torturing and occupying their cities. At the same time, we call upon the international community, the United Nations agencies and European Union organizations, to play their role in pressing the Turkish government, in order to immediately and unconditionally stop these severe violations of human rights. Moreover, to work on guaranteeing that these violations do not recur and ensure preserving the private property of civilians in Serekaniye/Ras Al-Ain and Gire Spi/Tell Abyad. We expect the international community to secure the minimum level of safety in the occupied areas in Northeast Syria, as well as, to open an independent investigation and hold those involved accountable, in order to save civilians from unfulfilled humanitarian disasters due to Turkish practices and those loyal to them. This is in regard to the heinous happenings and practices on the ground and according to the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
Simultaneously, we would like to stress the necessity for the United Nations agencies, the European Union and the countries seeking to implement United Nations resolutions related to a political solution in Syria, to carry out their duty in urging the Turkish government to fully adhere to the international humanitarian law rules, spare civilians all the dangers of its military operations and immediately abort them. Furthermore, working to provide urgent assistance to the displaced from the cities of Serekaniye/Ras Al-Ain and Gire Spi/Tell Abyad inside and outside Syria.
The Turkish army and the Syrian extremist factions loyal to them, which are officially known as the “The Syrian National Army”, have committed momentous violations that have targeted unarmed civilians. These violations included; field executions, kidnappings, assaults, displacement, artillery targeting of medical centers and facilities, indiscriminate attacks targeting residential neighborhoods and disrupting all service institutions in both cities. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as Amnesty International, have documented some of these crimes, which fall under “war crimes” classification.
The Turkish forces and the affiliated Syrian extremist factions deliberately targeted civilians, expelled them from their homes and properties, and they brought the families of those factions and settled them in the place of the latter. Whereas, in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which was issued on September 14th , the aforementioned Syrian terrorist factions, known as “The Syrian National Army”,had seized the homes of the Kurds and looted them. In addition, the indigenous inhabitants were forced to leave their homes, not to mention, the operation of murder, kidnapping, torture, threatening and extortion carried out by the brigade affiliated with these factions.
The report further stated that women, the Kurdish women in particular, in SereKaniye / Ras Al-Ain and Gire Spi/ Tal Abyad, were subjected to extortion, threats, rape, kidnapping and coerced into marrying members and fighters of the Syrian Islamic factions. As a result, families from the Gire Spi/ Tal Abyad were reluctant to return to their homes for fear of rape, kidnapping, detention and torture.
Within a year, the Turkish forces and their factions did not only target civilians in the center of the two occupied cities, but also began targeting civilians in areas that are not under their rule in Al-Hasaka Governorate.Furthermore, it weaponized water against the civilians in Al-Hasaka, where it stopped the process of pumping water from Alouk water station in the eastern countryside of SereKaniye / Ras al-Ain to Al-Hasaka city and its countryside. It had previously carried out repeated cuts in February, March, April and July.
Civilians in Al-Hasaka Governorate had faced Covid-19 pandemic in the absence of water, and they complied with the preventive measures imposed by health agencies and authorities.
This letter, written on the passage of one-year of the occupation of SereKaniye / Ras Al-Ain in Al-Hasaka Governorate and Gire Spi/ Tal Abyad in Raqqa Governorate, represents the hopes of the displaced from the two regions, as well as it represents the aspirations of NES population, who experiences a real threat due the practices carried out by the Turkish forces and the extremist Syrian factions loyal to them.
This letter is an attempt to deliver the voice of the local populations in NES, and to express their need for real international support which paves for their safe return to their homes and dislodge the occupying forces from their cities and towns.
Organizations Signatories to the Letter:
Aata for Development Organization
Adel Center for Human rights
Aljezera relief organization
ASHNA for development
ASO Center for Consultancy and Strategic Studies
Balsam Center for Health Education
Bonus without borders
Burka Ahlaa association
DAN for Relief and Development
Dejla Environmental Protection Association
Eridu center for civil society and democracy
Forum two rivers Organization
Hevy for relief and devlopment
Hezen Civaka Sivil yen Kurdstany (HCSK)
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE IN SYRIA (MAF)
Human Rights Organization in Syria- MAF
Inaash Organization for Development
International war and disasters victim’s protection association
Jian Charitable Society
Jiwan for civil society
Judy charity for development and relief.
Justice and building center
Khunav association for Relief and Development
Kobani for Relief and Development
Kurdish Legal commission
Kurdish association with no borders
Kurdish committee for Human rights.
Kurdish Organization For Human rights in Syria (DAD)
land of peace
Lawir organization for animal protection
Legal construction organization
Mahabad Organization for Human Rights MOHR
Nûdem Médias Agency
PARTNERS Relief & Development
PÊL- Civil Waves
Rashid Hamo Cultural and Social Center
Research and Protection of Women’s Rights in Syria Center
Rights Defense Initiative
Sara organization to combat violence against women
Sêl Organization for Media and Development
Shamal charity association
Share for community development
Shawishka Association for Women
Shilan for relief and development
Slav Center for Civic Activities
Ster organization for development
Swaaed For Development
Syrian Kurdish Civil Forces Gathering
Syrian Kurdish journalists’ network
Syrian observatory for human rights
Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
Taa Marbouta Organization
Tal Abyad Forum for Civil Society
the Syrian woman council
Union of Pharmacists of Northern and Eastern Syrian
Violations Documentation Center in Northern Syria
Woman’s Council of North and East Syria
Youth for change